JOYRIDE was released October 5, 2001. It was the first flick after the events of 9/11 that I went to see in a movie theater. At the time I thought it was a decent riff on one of my favorite made-for-TV movies DUEL. I especially enjoyed that the great TED LEVINE (SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and later, THE HILLS HAVE EYES remake) provided the voice for the murderous trucker. That’s about all I do remember about the movie except some fuzzy stuff about LEELEE SOBIESKI being endangered in a motel room. What I do recall with absolute clarity is leaving the theater and feeling profoundly dismal. Even though the movie had satisfied me, was adequately suspenseful and too well done to ever be called “bad,” it left a horrible taste in my mouth and by mouth, I mean brain. It was just too soon for me. JOYRIDE is hardly the most horrifying movie I can think of but somehow, due to my still fragile state of mind, it came across as a pitch-black wall of unpleasantness. I wished I’d stayed home and watched sitcoms instead. Sitcoms are always tranquilizing (with the noted exception of MAUDE which is anything but, as the theme song clearly warns).
Anyway, my initial plan here was going to be to watch JOYRIDE again and see how I felt about it now that so much time has passed and I can more logically disconnect it from 9/11. The thing is… I don’t want to. I don’t think I ever want to see that movie again. That may seem drastic but not when you consider that I have put the “dead to me” kibosh on movies for far lesser crimes than being associated with the greatest atrocity of our time. I’m not talking about movies you put on your veto list because they scare you and you’re genuinely afraid to watch them, I’m talking about movies you shun simply because they remind you of something you’d rather not be reminded of. Am I the only person who does this? Here are some other movies that regardless of quality, I’m doomed to carry a nonsensical grudge-torch for:
THE UNHOLY (1988)
When I went to see this one in the theater I had the worst toothache of all time. I could not concentrate on the movie for a second. It was torture and as silly and irrational as it may be, I have yet to watch it again. My feeling is that it wasn’t very good to begin with anyway yet due to its subject matter, it would have been very characteristic of me to give it a second chance if it were not for the phantom tooth-booth I’d need to drive through. Maybe if I had better dental insurance…
BODY PARTS (1991)
I was really excited to watch this one on VHS when it was released and then at some point in the middle of viewing it ,my cat Fraidy came over to me with blood dripping out of his nose and mouth. Needless to say I didn’t finish the thing. Fraidy was fine, the vet found nothing wrong with him but I ‘ll never attempt to watch BODY PARTS again. There’s obviously something evil in it that is harmful to pets.
MIRACLE MILE (1988)
What I saw of this movie concerning the end of the world I liked a lot. A strange thing happened the day I viewed it though, just as the film was reaching its apoclyptic climax, the theater I saw it in suffered a complete electrical blackout. We were given free passes to return in the future but the damage was done. The experience was so off-putting that I have never attempted to find out how the movie (and the world) concludes. I’m assuming I’m not meant to know.
I went to see this HITCHCOCK classic at a tiny college theater some time in the eighties. Believe me when I tell you that somebody in the theater (who was not I) was having a serious issue with flatulence. The stink was deadly and seemed to reach its putrid peak right during the surreal dream sequence designed by a blameless SALVADOR DALI. Watching this segment again, I can see it’s incredible and yet I’m still tempted to hold my breath. I have a boxed set of HITCHCOCK DVD’s and this title remains untouched.
WARLOCK III: THE END OF INNOCENCE (1999)
I was visiting my parents and must have gotten some kind of bug from the plane because oh boy, was I sick with some crazy flu. I rented out whatever was new at the Blockbuster and prepared myself for at least one day of doing nothing but watching movies from bed. I’m not sure if it was the fever or the mammoth amounts of medicine I was on, but I was basically tripping my brains out. This rotten movie flickered in abstract flashes in and out of my half consciousness never making a lick of sense and the absence of JULIAN SANDS didn’t help. It is dead to me, which means I can never partake in a WARLOCK triple feature!
APPRENTICE TO MURDER (1988)
This is the hardest one to explain. I’ve never even seen this movie! Once upon a time though I had a terrible nightmare involving it and that was enough. I’m assuming my nightmare was inspired by seeing the trailer because as I watch that now, I see that it’s got EXORCIST music, Satan hysteria and it takes place in olden timey days and knowing me, that would do it. Mostly forgotten, it’s a very easy movie to avoid but when I worked at a video store I used to eye the VHS box with suspicion and frequently dare myself to check it out…I never did. It’s based on a true story and sounds really interesting but I don’t want to die so I guess it’s off the table.
So you see, JOYRIDE, it isn’t personal. You were just at the wrong place at the wrong time. If a movie can be nixed by me based on associations as harmless as the ones listed above what chance considering your inadvertent alignment with the worst day ever, could you possibly stand? None.