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It's a Short Trip to Irrelevance. Last Stop: The Scary Movie Franchise

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | April 9, 2013 |

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | April 9, 2013 |

I cannot convey to you the profound level of dislike I have for the Scary Movie franchise. There was a certain point when the movies were tolerable. The original was funny (at least at the time), and the sequel was almost mediocre. However, once Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer got involved, all of the parody movies became as lazy and unwatchable as Date Movie and Disaster Movie and Epic Movie, ad infinitum. At this point, the Wayans aren’t even involved in the Scary Movie franchise anymore, but Marlon Wayans did write A Haunted House, which was as terrible as every other iteration of the same spoof movie that recycles the same jokes with different movie title punchlines. There’s not a joke in these movies that hasn’t already been made 100,000 times; in fact, at this point, they probably just troll Twitter for moviegoer reactions to horror films and weave those into a script for a film that won’t arrive in theaters for another six months.

They are inexpensive to make (they usually run around $20 million) and they all double their money back, then quadruple it with international distribution. There is no stopping this train. It’s been running for 15 years (or much, much longer if you count the old Leslie Nielsen spoofs), and it will probably continue to run as long as horror movies are being made and there’s a willing audience. Given how terrible the movies already are, I suspect there will always be a willing audience. The bar has been set incredibly low, and movieogoers continue to limbo underneath it.

The Scary Movie franchise completely devoid of cultural relevance. The casting, however, is well suited. Most of the people who end up in Scary Movie movies already have one foot in the career grave. Appearing in them, however, is like being shoved into oblivion. Anna Faris has managed to survive, and James Van Der Beek briefly recovered from a cameo in one of the films. And Charlie Sheen, of course, is human embodiment of the Scary Movie franchise: A squashed cockroach that squirms out from underneath every shoe only to be squashed again.

For the most part, however, it’s a trip to nowheresville. Ashley Tisdale takes over the Anna Faris role in this weekend’s Scary Movie 5, and I can virtually guarantee that Tisdale’s already hobbling career will head straight to Redbox thereafter. Lindsay Lohan, Jerry O’Connell, and Kate Walsh — each of whom appear in Scary Movie 5 — should also bid adieu to their careers now (or five years ago). Their agents should have them sign VH1 Celebreality contracts in exchange for their Scary Movie paychecks.

Here’s a small sampling of the careers that have fallen into the Scary Movie sinkhole, never to recover.

Shannon Elizabeth


Carmen Elektra


Cheri Oteri


Natasha Lyonne


Simon Rex


Camryn Manheim


Denise Richards


Tori Spelling


Eddie Griffin


Katt Williams


Pamela Anderson and Jenny McCarthy


Holly Madison


Molly Shannon


James Woods (Yes. James Woods. Check his filmography over the last decade for traces of relevance. You will come up empty).


Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.