I’ve been regularly watching copious amounts of MST3K and its off-shoot projects for over a year now, and I’ve finally hit something of a brick wall: Red Zone Cuba. On three separate occasions, I have fallen asleep while attempting to watch this movie — picking up where I left off on each subsequent attempt. I know how Ed Wood’s films and Manos: The Hands of Fate are frequently put at the top of the “Worst Movie Ever Made” list, but Red Zone Cuba is something far more insidious.
I can literally say absolutely nothing complimentary about this film. Manos and Ed Wood’s oeuvre provide moments of cheesetastic, riotous enjoyment, but not Red Zone Cuba. Everything about it is dull, ugly, brutish, and inept. The dialogue is dull. The cinematagraphy is ugly. The characters are brutish. The editing is inept. The plot is all of those things combined. I’m reasonably certain that Francis Coleman — the writer, director, producer and “star” of this unholy monstrosity — made life hell for everyone who worked on RZC. This is a movie you show to a person you want to end a relationship with, by first telling them it’s your favorite movie of all time and that you’re excited to see their reaction to it as they watch it. There is no amount of riffing from the MST3K crew that sufficiently quells any of the pain that this movie inflicts upon the viewer.
Yet, I will not let this film win. I am stronger than this movie, and I’m going to finish it, no matter how many times I need to resume it from where I last nodded off. It’s a moral imperative.
(Note: I’m not the only person who feels this way about RZC. Check out this 2018 review from Paste, which is part of ranked list of every episode of MST3K made up until that point.)