Sometimes, though, finding the good in a bad movie can be a challenge. Last night, because we were very bored, we started watching another Sci Fi Channel original movie, Legion of the Dead. And dear God in Heaven, this film was bad. Sometimes you can watch a bad movie and have fun mocking it; Plan 9 from Outer Space falls into this category. But sometimes, mocking a bad movie is like mocking a one-legged kitten that’s trying to catch a dangling piece of string; it’s just cruel, and even stops being fun after awhile. Especially if, you know, the kitten is dead. Then it can’t even try anymore.
Watching Legion of the Dead was like watching a dead, one-legged kitten going after a dangling bit of string. Seriously, you have no idea how thoroughly awful this film is.
It starts with a couple of motorcyclists speeding through the forests of southern California, and then crashing into a mysterious cave. While hanging out and smoking in the cave (and I swear to God I have never before seen a movie where the shots of people smoking dope were pixellated out — no, I’m not joking; whenever a character put the joint to their mouth, their face was blurred out), they discovered that the cave was, in fact, an Egyptian tomb. Yes, an Egyptian tomb in southern California. How did it get there, you ask? Well, apparently some Egyptian priestess took a trans-Atlantic trading route from Egypt. Because, of course, if you cross the Atlantic from Egypt, you’ll end up in California.
It only gets worse from there.
This film had the elements which I’ve come to expect from really awful Sci Fi channel movies. There was the really hot but brilliant female scientist (in this case a grad student in Egyptology); there was the evil scientist; there were the really awful special effects, which I’m guessing were put together by the producer’s twelve year-old nephew on his Macintosh. There was the awful dialog, complete with long pauses while the actors consulted their cue cards or waited for the director to feed them a blocking instruction. Or something.
Inevitably, the hot but brilliant female scientist accidentally awakens the evil villain (because far too often, the world threatening awful force is unleashed by a woman), who happens to be the mummified ancient queen of Egypt who is going to come back and maybe rule the dead, or the living, or maybe both, or something. This revived priestess emerges from the tomb, perfectly preserved, with perfectly manicured nails, and, of course, naked. She goes for the archeology professor, of course, and drains his life force, or something, leaving a strip of beef jerky in his place, which the camera lingers on lovingly for almost a full minute. Then she wanders the streets of the city and, purely by accident, comes to the hotel where the hot but brilliant female scientist is staying (because no one is going to notice a hot naked chick wandering the streets, especially if she’s covered in blood).
Then other stuff happened. Other people died. She ate their souls, or something, leaving behind more beef jerky. Girls screamed, yet because the evil naked priestess was looking only for men to eat, the women were never in danger of anything, thus violating one of the most important rules of God-awful horror movies, which is always put your cutest actress in horrific jeopardy.
I dunno. After about an hour, we decided it would be better if we turned off the movie and performed amateur root canals, so I don’t know how the movie ended. Honestly, I didn’t care.
I use to have this theory that for every awful movie like this, there’s at least one person going, "Come on, I promise, it’ll be cool! No, really!" After seeing this, I’m no longer sure that’s the case. I think that maybe the only reason for some films is as a tax dodge. I can imagine that as long as the Sci Fi Channel paid fifty bucks to have this movie made, then if they got at least that from the advertising revenue, then there’s a purpose to this movie. It’s a damn shame, though; there’s so much creative talent in the world, that you’d think films like this could be avoided.
At least I know I can add "Evil awakened Egyptian mummy" as one of the possible antagonists in my random Sci Fi Channel movie generator.