Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Internet’s Endless Pleasures of Amateur Snark
or

How You Might Get A Date With a Crappy Horror Movie


With regards to my previous post about the legitimacy of online criticism, I thought I would point out that, while the web can sometimes be the source of too much poetic and gushing praise, it can also be the source of some creative and humorous snark.

As I sat doing my bills one night, I saw a trailer for a horror movie that was playing on On-Demand. The movie was Death Tunnel, and it had a stylish and interesting trailer that made it look like fun, B-Movie trash with some neat, creepy atmosphere. ("5 Girls, 5 Floors, 5 Hours...5 Ghosts!")

I logged onto IMDB to check it out and then spent an amusing few minutes reading some of the more creative user reviews of Death Tunnel.


"5 Girls + 5 Floors + 5 Hours = 15 reasons to steer clear!"

"Some movies are so boring they make you sleep. Not this one. It's stuttered with screams and "horrific" images to keep you awake. In the end you just want to swear."


One reviewer was even moved enough to write an ode to the movie:


Death Tunnel, Death Tunnel, oh god end my pain, Death Tunnel.. How could
you be so terrible? You have so much going for you on paper:

1) Creepy setting


2) ...

OK, so you really don't have so much going for you, so why did I expect so much out of you?

Oh Death Tunnel, if only the people responsible for your excretion wanted you to be anything more than a pile of droppings... If only they could see that, as you are, you are so much dead weight around the shoulders of humankind, the yoke of Rushed Out Crap to DVD that is synonymous with other movies that fail as miserably as you do.


I know, I know, it is not that great, but it made me smile. Interestingly enough, some very early user reviews are quite positive. And later reviewers openly accuse these Death Tunnel supporters of being studio shills or members of the production crew. (This along the lines of Bill Marx’s fear that the relative of a playwright could post gushing admiration.)

This studio marketing in the form of reviews is a common occurrence on Amazon and IMDB, but, in the end, the negative reviews usually drown those phonies out.

But this is just the beginning of the Death Tunnel phenomenon. Death Tunnel, poorly imitating Blair Witch Project, launches a multi-pronged marketing attack with planted praise on websites and even blogs.

Apparently, like their film, the team behind Death Tunnel takes all of the worst and most obvious aspects of modern multimedia horror genre marketing to create their insipid buzz. As an example, I refer you to the Death Tunnel Blog. Note the post from a video store clerk who "can’t seem to keep the movie on the shelf!"

Death Tunnel even has a MySpace page. This is the place to go for Death Tunnel’s intimate information. For instance, the surprising fact that Death Tunnel has 523 friends may be explained by the fact that Death Tunnel's MySpace profile reveals that Death Tunnel is a "22 Year Old Female from Los Angeles California." Hubba Hubba, Guys!

Don’t bother looking for anything inspiring in the way of creativity though. The Death Tunnel on-line presence is cluttered, ad-heavy, awkward and downloads slowly.

So, single guys out there...if you play your cards right, you may have chance to date Death Tunnel.

In case you are wondering: No, I didn’t rent it... Yet. Thanks Internet!

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