With this week’s release of the excruciatingly bad, frankly insulting The Devil Inside, a topic that is never far from my mind surfaced once more.

Namely, just why do film fans put themselves through such hell, just to emerge blinking from a darkened theatre with a shrug of the shoulders and a ‘told you so’ look?

I am sure most of you out there know what I mean – you read a movie is going to be pants, every review tells you it’s pants, your mates tell you it’s pants, and still you trundle along and whack down your hard-earned just to be able to say for yourself – it’s pants.

It seems films are a pretty unique area for this particular affliction – for example I cannot remember hearing someone listen to an entire album, or read a novel from start to finish, if they knew it was going to be terrible.

You just don’t make the effort do you?

But for films it seems to be different – and I am not talking about the ‘so bad they are actually good’ variety of movies either.

No, I’m referring to the no-holds-barred, absolute disaster type flicks that come along every now and again, of which The Devil Inside is a classic example.

A fellow film writer, whose tweets I follow with interest, noted that he wasn’t annoyed by said film as he ‘knew it was going to be balls’.

And there’s my point – if you knew it, why go?

I don’t even think there is an element of ‘they must all be wrong’ to it if I’m honest.

For me personally there is a definite feeling of ticking films off a list – hence even though I thought Ghost Rider 2 was an astonishingly bad film, I will never regret having gone to see it.

I think another point definitely worth making is, for me personally, there is frankly nothing worse than having a civil chat about films when, after someone has dismissed a film as ‘shit’ (or words to that effect), you find out they haven’t even seen it.

It takes me back to the whole video censorship debate back in the 80s when out-of-touch politicians would bang on about the evils of certain horror flicks without having watched a single frame of them.

If you want to slag off a film to the heavens then that is fine by me – but at least have the decency to have watched it first!!

You often hear people saying ‘that’s 90 minutes of my life that I won’t get back’ after enduring some turkey or other – but I never have, or ever will, feel that way.

In fact, in some twisted way, sitting through a truly dreadful film for me is akin to a badge of honour.

And there will always be a moment where I take a sneak look at my watch and think ‘well, I’m over half way through now, so I might as well stick it out’.

I’ve never walked out of a film either – something else I just am not wired to understand.

True, I have come close – I had to take a breather from ‘I Still Know What You Did Last Summer’ for example when the audience-insulting dialogue and plot proved too much for me to handle, but the possibility of some more jiggling from Jennifer Love Hewitt and the desire to ‘get through it’ dragged me back in.

I’m not saying that is the sensible thing to do, and I am certainly not demanding everyone does the same, but I reckon there are a few more of me out there somewhere.

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.

  • Anonymous

    IMO, some people are less demanding about the entertainment they’re getting so they enjoy it anyway. Some people just feel bold and hold an iota of hope that the movie will be good. Some try to find whatever fun they can out of a movie which leads to “so bad it’s good.”

    When people will do what they like, I give more weight to those who’ve made the proper experience.