The Rambler Dir. Calvin Lee Reeder

[Anchor Bay Films; 2013]

Styles: post-funny horribleness
Others: who cares, The Oregonian

01. Maybe it helped that, during my last viewing of The Rambler, I was consistently called upon by one particular client complaining of violent delusions and hallucinations.

02. Maybe it helped that, during my first viewing, I drifted in and out of sleep while the movie played in the background, periodically waking me up to face scenes of screams, explosions, and gore.

03. Because there is no reasonable reason for liking The Rambler.

04. It is a terrible movie in a long line of terrible movies…

05. …too serious to be intentionally funny…

06. …too unserious to be “cult”…

07. …and yet, The Rambler is terribly alluring.

08. Watching/reflecting upon The Rambler forced me to recall all of those Saturday nights I spent in front of the television watching marathons of terrible horror movies on SyFy. That was back, a few years ago, when I had cable television and no life.

09. I remembered so much about those movies in general: the terrible scripts, the terrible acting, the terrible cinematography, the terrible editing. The music was bad. The pacing was awkward. The mood was consistently inconsistent. The gore was cheesy. (My gosh. It’s as though I had already seen The Rambler hundreds of times over a hundred wasted Saturdays.)

10. And it all makes me ask myself, wading my way out of all kinds of ironic detachment, why bother? Why watch, much less celebrate, a terrible movie?

11. I think horror — even bad horror — is incredibly cathartic.

12. I think (as I often do) it goes back to Freud, or to Cain, or to God — in whose image, but in absolute otherness, we are believed to have been made. Horror always precedes, and does not follow, the little selves that we occupy.

13. At our best, horror is something we’ve learned to store away in the back of our minds.

14. Sometimes, it comes to the surface, and controls us like a poltergeist. Sometimes we’re just trained to ignore our kinder instincts. Sometimes it shows up out of nowhere, a little neural misfire.

15. But it’s in all us. We are horrible people, kept at bay by very little.

16. So we take joy when a foreign head explodes, because we already know that violence intimately, and we’re glad it can be expressed without our having to make trouble or dirty the room ourselves.

17. The Rambler spirals around Frankensteins: mad scientists and paramedics. They see the human body, or psyche, as a broken thing, and try to patch it back together through any means. In keeping with the story, of course, they fail. The creation doesn’t act accordingly. They are ripped apart, and there is no Frankenstein for them.

18. So The Rambler is a story about the success of monsters, of irresolution, of failed creations. It’s a story about us.

19. Maybe I’m being too glib.

20. Maybe nlombardo1 at IMBD was right: “Was a crappy car and a crappier movie. It made no sense whatsoever. A complete waste of my time.”

21. It’s okay. Just let it die.

22. That’s catharsis, by the way. The ability to just let something die.

23. Summon the horror, endure it, be transformed.

24. Death puts everything in perspective. That’s why I love horror movies so much — even the terrible ones.

25. So maybe I can just give the last word to the rambler, himself. “Do you like mummies?” “No.”

Most Read