It's obvious, especially when combing through the DVD aisles these days that not everything moviewise is up to snuff. Even in the most heinous direct-to-video titles, the producers and promoters manage to dig up some sort of positive feedback for their films. That's why it's possible to pick up even a major studio title and find a "smashing" review from "splatteringturd.net."
In the honor of this topic, I've compiled a list of 5 "endorsements" or "bragging Points" that should make you avoid a film rather than see, or good Lord willing, purchase it.
1. These days, "produced by Wes Craven" Does he direct anything anymore? "They"? "Wishmaster"?
2. "From the makers of "Porky's"!!!" Bob Clark notwithstanding, as he directed "A Christmas Story" and "Black Christmas", this is not a pedigree to be proud of.
3. Any endorsement from Pete Hammond, as he gives good reviews to everything, much like Jeff Craig from the "sixty second preview" days. Be warned.
4. "Based on a true story". Come on, at a stretch, more often than not, "inspired" would be a better word to use. This was parodied as far back as "Return of the Living Dead", when the words "Based on actual events" appear on the screen before the first reel starts.
5. No endorsements. There was a time when a lack of a critical or fansite pat on the back meant what you were considering was pure claptrap. Not anymore. There's some good horror flicks out there with no press hallelujahs on the artwork at all. "Ginger Snaps: The Beginning" for example, was a solid movie, better than many that have rave reviews pasted all over the DVD case.
So in short, make up your own mind. The trained eye can usually tell just by breezing through the packaging what you're up against. Using critics isn't always a bad thing. A ringing support statement from Roger Ebert is a good thing, he at least has the respect to review a film in the context of genre, which is rare these days, I respect him even if I think he's off base on "Grosse Pointe Blank". Peter Travers is another. But beware of positive kudos from "gapingwound.org." In essence, use common sense.