Monday, June 8, 2009

Exterminator City (2005)

We here at YSM pride ourselves in discussing the merits of bad films. Our reviews are less a judgment of quality and more a brief viewing guide to encourage the reader to see and enjoy the film. They are all bad movies, and placing them into some arbitrary spectrum of bad to worse completely misses the point.

However, occasionally a film comes along that is so terrible, so pointless, so devoid of any sense of storytelling, composition, cohesiveness, or sanity, that I cannot sit idly by. Up until today, I thought all bad movies had something to contribute. That is until I watched the nearly unwatchable Exterminator City.
I say "nearly" because I did, technically, watch the entire film. There were many times I wanted to stop. If you are determined to get through all of Exterminator City, it is a movie best watched in five minute chunks. And yet, despite the slow digestion, the movie never becomes entirely palatable. Like a big heaping pile of brussels sprouts, at no point does the next one taste any better than the first. Each is just another hurdle in your dead sprint toward the end (dessert).
There is no Stockholm syndrome with Exterminator City. Every single second is just as terrible as the one before it.

This is due primarily to its complete lack of progression, development, or clarity. According to the synopsis, the movie is about a robot detective and his psychologist partner determined to catch a robot serial killer on the loose in the dystopian Atro City. Sounds like a pretty entertaining piece of B-Movie schlock, yes? You would be wrong.

Here is a brief snippet of what I would imagine the script to look like:
Imagine these two scenes repeated over and over and over and over and over, with only slight variations inserted into each one. Maybe the porn star urinates. Maybe it's a crossbow instead of a knife. Maybe the robot detective places a superfluous "r" at the end of a word. Who knows? What we do know is that at no point does it progress into anything which might resemble a conclusion. For a movie so obsessed with porn stars, you'd think it would pay more attention to climax.

Exterminator City looks awful. The porn star footage was clearly shot by someone else at a completely different time for some kind of bizarre fake porno snuff film. They contrast wildly from the robot shots, which are in extreme close up, presumably to hide the fact that they were all shot in director Clive Cohen's basement.
The sound is also terrible. There is a jarring cacophony of royalty-free Garage Band sound effects at all times. Cohen places a needless stinger on the most innocuous of shots. Each robot sounds distorted to the point of incoherence. Each line is a pointless and strangely worded catch phrase, as if spoken by Starcraft units in the seventh layer of hell.

In addition to these abortions of filmmaking, there is also an extremely disturbing homicidal overtone. At one point the robot detective straps into a machine which allows him to look inside the mind of the killer. I felt like I was doing the exact same thing. Like Ted Kaczynski's "Ship of Fools," or Seung-Hui Cho's "Richard McBeef," Exterminator City feels like a cry for help. A voyeuristic and uncomfortable look into the mind of a psychopath.
There is one more reason to avoid this movie at all costs. I should note that this is NOT WORK SAFE (though I did censor it), and under no circumstances should anyone look at this picture ever.


This woman chose to look this way. She deliberately altered her body, undergoing numerous painful surgeries, in order to achieve this body image. I want you to remember that.

What to drink:

Drano mixed with POISON.

Quotable quotes:
Executioner: Let's rock 'n roll, baby!

Detective: Oh my! Shit on me!

Partner: Damn! It's a real life Picasso!

Detective: He's an enigmer!

Partner: You pull this off, you're up for promotion, even a runtime extension.
Detective: Aren't I a blast?
Partner: You sound jaded, detective.
Detective: Hey, I'm just high on life!

Partner: Embrace the insanity!

Detective: I'll get him.
Partner: How do you know that?
Detective: It's my job, bitch!

Detective: "I am Death, Destroyer of Worlds."
Partner: You know Nietzsche?
Detective: I read the comic book.
Arbitrary ranking system:

Drano mixed with POISON.


  1. Dear Nick

    To claim I will firebomb a synagogue full of orphaned handicapped children on the Sabbath is unacceptable and libelous. Please remove this section from your review.


  2. Dear Clive

    I altered it in order to make it 100% clear that I don't actually believe that.


  3. Clive Cohen's film is unacceptable and traumatizing. Please remove it from my brain.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Dear Nick

    Please remove the segement about firebombing a synagogue full of orphaned handicapped children on the Sabbath.

    If I were to level accusations of this nature against yourself you would not like it.

    A review of a film is one thing but this goes beyond that. Please remove it.


  6. Dear Clive

    What I wrote is clearly hyperbolic and exaggerated for literary effect. It is not meant to be taken seriously nor does anything in its content suggest that it should be taken seriously.


  7. I take it seriously.

    You may not be aware of this but many jews were torched inside synagogues. The disabled were amongst the victims of the final soloution.

    To suggest I would commit such am act is libelous.

    Please remove that section of the review.


  8. Thank you Clive for posting in the comments instead of contacting the author directly so that we may still view your distaste for orphans and the handicapped.

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