Exterminator City (2005)

Nomination Year: 2010
SYNOPSIS:  The most notable qualities of Exterminator City are inherently cinematic, and will be difficult to properly convey in prose.

This, kittens, may be the nicest thing I say about the flick. And it's not really a compliment.

Let's begin. In the future, the world apparently will be populated only by women with breast implants and robots. If this were a better film, one might think the filmmaker intended by this to make a statement about the fundamentally self-alienating effects of objectification or the psychological impact of cyberization (or silicon-ation), or the dehumanizing effects of technology.

Put all such notions out of your heads, kittens. This is a Smithee film, and it is painfully clear the director only wanted to look at shiny chrome robot faces and naked boobies. Abnormally-big naked boobies.

The robots seem to be self-aware, and work in careers ranging from police detective to cabdriver to televangelist. The large-breasted women work... well, one (Julie Strain, beloved by Smithee fans everywhere for her turn as Queen Bee in Guns of El Chupacabra) is apparently an actress and, in one of the few clever moments of the flick, is murdered with an Oscar statuette. The rest seem to either work in the, errr, service industry, or just lounge around all day all scantily-clad.

Our shiny metal red-eyed hero is a police detective on the trail of a robot serial killer. To be more clear, the killer is himself a robot -- with what appears to be a shiny chrome cathedral grafted to his head -- who murders human women. The killer escaped while being transferred from a psychiatric institution of some sort, and it's up to our hero and the killer's robot psychiatrist (green-eyed, just to help us tell him apart) to stop him.

Doesn't sound too horrible yet, does it, kittens? Consider this. The robots are less lovingly puppeteered than Crow and Tom Servo. The only parts of them that move are the mouths. I don't think the robots are detailed below the shoulder level, so all you ever really see of them are tightly-focused shots of glowing-eyed faces and tightly-focused shots of metal hands gripping murder weapons -- and you never see the faces and the hands in the same shot. The framing is so tight as to induce claustrophobia.

Because the robots are so limited, you never see the killer in the same frame as an actress. Instead, there is a mostly-naked woman lounging and pouting, and then a cutaway to a robotic face watching her. Then more lounging, and incredibly loud servo noises and clanking as the killer approaches. Woman screams, cut to cathedral-headed robot, back to woman screaming, and eventually there is some badly mocked-up gory scene and the voices of the detective and the psychiatrist spouting cliched cop-movie dialogue.

This gets repeated about a dozen times, kittens. It gets old.

Also, in the future it always rains. And every establishing shot involves a rainy urban scene with a brightly-lit flying vehicle on a rope swooshing through the frame. Again, not so much of a problem -- if the director could sustain a scene for more than two minutes, tops. That's an awful lot of swooshing, kittens. That gets old quickly, too.

Just to add that extra zing, there's a religious subplot of some sort. Our killer is either on a mission of vengeance from a crucified Jesus, or is himself the anti-Christ, or is just religiously obsessed. Whatever the putative reason, it's all just an excuse to throw random bits of religious imagery (Boobs! Robots! Bleeding crucifixes!) into the blender. Our killer is at least nicely ecumenical, both attending confession with a clearly Roman Catholic robot priest (must be a Jesuit), and obeying the instructions of a robotic Benny-Hinn-style televangelist.

Because forewarned is forearmed, I will present you with an inoculation of sorts for the single most traumatizing image of the film -- which is not a robot, a faked-up corpse, or even Satan himself in foam-rubber glory.

It is an actress.

Her site is not work-safe. It is not family-safe. It is not sanity-safe. It might even turn you gay. You really don't want to click it. But you're a Smithee fan, so I know you just can't resist staring at the train wreck, so here you can find plenty of images of what I have dubbed the Breasts of Terror, sans robots, claustrophobic framing, and excessive foleys.

Most Ludicrous Premise

What's the difference, really?
Another hallucination. Now it's official! The robot serial killer is the new messiah. Or possibly the Anti-Christ.

"Let's Up The Rating To 'R'"

One trampoline short of a cliché.
Who's the killer robot stalking this time? A woman doing aerobics. Oh, now she's taken her top off and is doing topless jumping jacks. I give it a big thumbs up. Or I would if that was my thumb.

Worst Cover Copy

Now Appearing In This Film (Or Not)!
The plot description is fairly decent, but the skyline -- does not appear in the movie. The pictures on the back are otherwise representative, but the two guys on the front ... not only are they not in the movie, but there are no male humans of any kind....

Smithee Award Winner! Worst Special Effect

Monty Python had more realistic SFX.
I'm sure that the director intends this to be a clever low-budget special effect. Instead I dub it thus: "shake shake swing shake boom swing." Shaking the camera and swinging a toy car on a string doesn't really cut it. And the explosion? Lame.

Smithee Award Winner! Crummiest Ending

Another happy ending.
The killer robot's eyes go dark, and he has flashbacks through all of his prior murders. He appears in hell. He talks to Satan (who sounds a lot like a bad Sean Connery accent). Satan offers to send him back.

Someone is stalking a topless woman with Lips Of Mick Jaggerness and Breasts Of Extreme Terror. It's the cop!

In his room, the cop decides that he's not going to live like this. A skeletal robot nun appears and tells him that he's theirs. He says "fuck you, sister," and shoots himself. Roll credits!

Worst Picture

Kting! Thunk. Ktang! Thunk. Repeat twenty times.
This is the climactic fight between the robot cop and the robot killer. Except ... it's slow. And it's all close-ups, so it feels like an awful lot of disembodied action is going on ... or not going on. Really, this scene kind of sums the movie up nicely. It has almost everything that's wrong with the movie (pretty much everything but the heinous naked boobies).

Actors/Directors of Note
Actor Claim to Fame
Julie Strain married to Kevin Eastman; 6'1" tall 
Brinke Stevens master's degree in marine biology 
Jill Kelly Primarily known for her work in the "adult film industry" in such classics as Hooter Heaven and Sorority Sex Kittens 3 
Director Claim to Fame
Clive Cohen his claim to fame? directing/writing/producing this 

Amy Conlon

To the Film Gallery Return to Lobby
[Smithee Film Gallery] [Return to Lobby]


© 2011-2019 Bryan D. Cassidy, Greg Pearson, Matthew Quirk, and Kevin Hogan. All Rights Reserved.