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Mega-Meta 4 Category Recap: Worst Special Effects

As we noted way back in the Stupidest-Looking Monster recap, there are some Smithee categories that need a lot of explanation and then there are categories like Worst Special Effect. If you're looking for poor model work, cheesy computer graphics, or implausible green-screen work, you've come to the right place. To whit:

2007 Vampire Raiders: Ninja Queen (Smithee)
2008 Nemesis 4: Cry of Angels (Smithee)
2009 Trancers 6 (Smithee)
2010 Exterminator City (Smithee)
2011 Kraa! the Sea Monster (Smithee)

You can learn a lot from a dummy. If you're watching Vampire Raiders: Ninja Queen, you can learn how not to do special effects. Step 1: don't put an obviously fake dummy face down on the grass. Step 2: don't drag them along the ground face-first. Step 3: don't film this and try to pass it off as some sort of fancy ninja move.

Badly animated helicopters, usually exploding, are a staple of this category and we'd be remiss if we didn't supply you with one here. Stepping up to the plate is Nemesis 4, where our heroine gets into a shoot-out with a helicopter, while armed only with a pistol. Fortunately, it's a laser pistol, so we get a badly-animated energy beam along with the requisite exploding model poorly composted composited onto the background.

If it's bad compositing you want, though, it's Trancers 6 that has the clip you've been waiting for. After a trancer is pushed out of a window, the actor's flailing body is (inexpertly) composited onto a still of a building exterior, with the camera turned sideways to produce a (poor) illusion of falling. We suspect that the budget for this effect must have run into the high two figures.

Then again, at least they paid for a person in that one, which is more than Exterminator City can say. The flying car effect here involves swinging a toy car on a string and shaking the camera. The inevitable explosion isn't the only thing about this sequence that bombs.

And, finally, no Worst Special Effects showing would be complete without some bad computer graphics, which Kraa! the Sea Monster is happy to supply for us. The hero's ship leaves orbit, bounces off a satellite, falls to Earth in a shower of sparks, and crashes into Kraa himself. After the first couple of those effects, you start to think that it can't actually get any worse. You're wrong.