Thursday, March 22, 2012

How Could a Film With So Much Nudity Be So Bad?: "The Coroner" (1999)

"The Coroner" has placed itself on the much heralded list of worst films I have ever witnessed.

I am fighting the urge to end every plot summary sentence with a (!) because it is unbelievable to me that someone actually thought this up. This review contains spoilers, but do not let that stop you from skimming and deciding this would make a decent rental after all.

Emma (Jane Longnecker) is a tough as nails public defender in the San Francisco area. She frees prostitutes like Nadine (Christine Burke) and tries to get them to turn their lives around. Emma has a boyfriend named George (David Aimerito), a Kenny G clone. There is also a string of serial murders in the Bay Area (Nadine is offed), and Emma takes some vacation time to solve the crime. Little does she know the killer is targeting her as his next victim.

Using a blow dart gun, Emma is kidnapped by Leon (Dean St. Louis) and held in his basement, where he keeps assorted medical examiner instrumentation. Leon is nuts, Emma stabs him and escapes, she is recaptured, Leon is nuts, Emma escapes again, and runs out in traffic and is hit by a car. In the hospital, Emma is sedated, but is released and returns to the house with Detectives Manley (Bob McFarland) and Striker (Robert J. Pouliot). No one believes Emma, even with a severed finger, and they discover Leon is none other than the local city's coroner. He covers up his crimes because he does the autopsies!

The detectives poo poo her story, and this video poo poos my VCR. Emma then goes to the jerk district attorney Flossman (Eric B. Gerleman) for help as Leon keeps kidnapping and killing. Since the basement where Emma was kept could not be found, Emma goes to Leon's and uses a bomb to blow a hole in the house for evidence (!- allow me this one). She breaks in, is arrested, and then turns the tables on Leon when she finally takes him captive in her basement...

The film wisely opens with a montage of strippers, always a good way to hook a viewer. The sex and nudity here are spaced throughout, so when the urge to shut the stupid thing off builds, a nipple is flashed; and like Pavlov's dog, I keep watching.

Both Leon and Emma have flashbacks to other bloody murders which are in fact gory scenes from other horror films. The music soundtrack is not original, it also consists of clips from other films. The acting and editing are atrocious, as cheap set walls vibrate during action scenes. I think I could have funded this thing based on my paycheck from last week.

The film is anti-woman, as no one believes Emma to the point of stupidity. Leon sees himself as god like, trying to kill off suicide survivors, a lot of whom live in San Fransisco, since he has no shortage of victims. The gore effects are standard, the suspense is nonexistent, and yet Roger Corman enjoys his stature as a respected film maker.

"The Coroner" is currently in the bottom 10 rankings for horror films at It should be at the bottom of anyone's list, it is truly one of the most ridiculous things I have ever seen, including "Asylum of Terror." (*) out of five stars.