Nooooo! I can't look!
But despite its title, most of the scariest scenes have implied gore and play more on a feeling of helplessness in the face of evil. Nothing scares me more than the inbred, hick hitchhiker who cuts only himself in the first 30 minutes of the movie. And yes, Leatherface hitting you on the head with a hammer, hanging you on a meat hook, and then going to work with a chainsaw is terrifying, but virtually nothing is actually shown. It's all very subtle and very real.
Until Act 3, where again everything goes to hell. Suddenly, the movie is no longer content to be a realistic portrayal of insanity and evil gone unchecked in the backwoods of a small Texas town. It goes supernatural with a dead/mummified/vampire grandpa up in the attic who comes to life with a little blood. Why? That's Van Helsing-level stupid. That's I, Frankenstein. It's a level of stupid so stupid that I have no idea how all the non-stupid came before it.
"Oh, sorry, were you taking this movie seriously? Well, cut it out. Get it? I said 'cut' and I have a hatchet. I kill me. I mean you. I kill you. But seriously, this part of the movie is awful."
This article comes full circle with the drama version of Stripes. Just like Stripes, Full Metal Jacket has incredibly memorable boot camp scenes and then goes absolutely nowhere. Again, think of the most memorable parts of the film; aren't almost every single one of them lines of dialogue out of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman's mouth? Of course they are. It is one of the most memorable (largely improvised) military performances in all of cinematic history. But on the off chance his classic sadistic put-downs are not your first memories of Full Metal Jacket, what is? It's probably Vincent D'Onofrio's character being beaten with bars of soap or what ultimately happens to him.
Did you just say "spoiler"? For a movie that came out 30 years ago. That's it. Hold still, I'm going to beat you with soap.
But after the training is over, then what? One full hour of Matthew Modine. Yes, Matthew Modine, but don't worry; he does a really shitty John Wayne impersonation to pass the time. See, he's funny. That's why they call him Joker. Because he's so funny. Because bad John Wayne impressions are funny, aren't they? Anyway, he and his band of brothers go on mission, and someone gets their arms blown off, and then I don't really remember. In fact, the only thing in the second half that really sticks with me is the Vietnamese prostitute lifting up her leather miniskirt and promising to love the servicemen "long time."
Not quite good enough to save the second half of the movie.
And why wouldn't that be it? My alternative to focusing on prurient Asian sex was, once again, one full hour of Mathew Modine.
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Full Metal Jacket might have a crappy second half, but at least it's no Platoon. Check out these 11 movie duds in 11 Guy Movie Classics And Why They Secretly Suck, and try watching Texas Chain Saw Massacre in a packed theater. It will still have a bad second half, but at least you can make fun of all the fanboys, as seen in 6 Classic Horror Films You See Differently In A New Audience.
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