Guilty by Association:: JOYRIDE (2001)

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:


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…


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.


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.


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!


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.

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Amanda By Night
Amanda By Night (@amanda-by-night)
8 years ago

Oh my goodness, I saw Apprentice to Murder in the movie theater! You didn’t miss anything. The dream kept you away from mediocrity. That’s a good thing! 🙂

I have movies I’ve attached to bad feelings from an outside factor, so I feel you totally. I think a lot of us felt kind of odd seeing any movie after 9-11. Such a surreal moment in our collective consciousness, and one I hope we never experience again.

Ben S
Ben S (@eyesofbens)
8 years ago

When I went to see the John Carpenter remake of VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED I had a headache so horrible that I couldn’t even think about the film. I hear that it’s not great, but I still want to watch it again–and yet I remember that headache so vividly that I never do.

mickster (@mickster)
8 years ago

Unkle Lancifer, you are a genius! That is all!

ozne (@ozne)
8 years ago

I haven’t seen Joyride in years. I liked both parts but the first is my favorite. Now that’s one mean serial killer.

bdwilcox (@bdwilcox)
8 years ago

If your experience with Spellbound instead happened with Metropolis, I assume you could describe it as a silent, but deadly, film.

mickster (@mickster)
8 years ago


Taylor (@joshacid37)
8 years ago

Two movies I watched when I was on post-surgery pain killers, and which I’ll always negatively associate with that weird trippy haze: Disney’s Aladdin and National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1. I’m sure that unfairly gives Aladdin the short straw, but I feel okay keeping Loaded Weapon 1 in time-out forever.

I went to see Caddyshack 2 in the theater, and when I got there I had the unfortunate experience of actually seeing Caddyshack 2, which forever spoiled my appreciation for Caddyshack 2.

Chuckles72 (@chuckles72)
8 years ago

One that comes to mind is “The Insider” (1999). When I was a grad student at Indiana University the current grad students hosted potential recruits in their homes or apartments during the big recruitment weekend. Usually this was a good experience but one year my (future) wife and I hosted a total douchebag. We were told that he really wanted to stay in a hotel instead and the reason was obvious – he was a misanthropic nutjob. He bitched about the bed, the food, the town (my beloved Bloomington) and our program – constantly.

We decided to take him to a movie to shut him up for a while and took him to a small local venue to see “The Insider”. It may have been a good film – Al Pacino, Russel Crowe – I will never know. What I do know is that I hated every single moment that I sat there next to this huffing, groaning, fidgeting a-hole. It was nearly unbearable. The film seemed to last forever.

Like Unk, I have sometimes thought about going back and giving “The Insider” another go, but every time that I see images from it I feel so much angst that I can’t bring myself to do it.

The next year we hosted a really nice guy – he watched “Carlito’s Way” (1993) at home with us on the futon and had a great time!

Unk – re: the end of “The Miracle Mile” – I’d advise following your instincts.

Taffy (@taffy)
8 years ago

Wow, “Body Parts”. Personally, there couldn’t be a more perfect film for you to bring up as a film that I would not be able to watch. Thankfully, I didn’t have to go through the ordeal of a sick kitty while trying to what this film but I can’t watch it based on an experience that I had with an actor that appeared in this film. I used to date a stuntman and through him, I met actor John Walsh who played Charley Fletcher. Way back in 1995 I found myself in Walsh’s loft with my BF and some other stuntmen who wanted to watch a movie but the only video Walsh had to watch was “Breaking the Waves”. We got about 20 minutes into it before the stuntmen complained that it was boring and that “nothing was happening” and to his chagrin, he turned it off. Things may have ended badly for me and that stuntman but I always remember Walsh as a man with a broader mindset than his peers. I’ve never been able to watch “Body Parts” or “Breaking the Waves” even though I’ve tried. It’s too weird.