Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
Ok, so let’s start this off with, the whole “So bad it is good” concept is going to vary from person to person. In fact other than politics and religion there is probably no subject in which your mileage may vary more than good bad movies. Bad movies are the train wrecks of cinema, you just can’t turn away from. Sometimes you realize in the middle of the show that you have spent thirty minutes of your life watching this movie just waiting for it to do something, and you will be danged if you’re going to stop right now just before it becomes a real movie.
Also silly isn’t necessarily bad. Monty Pythons Search for the Holy Grail is a silly movie, but you would be hard pressed to find many people who thinks it is a bad movie. Honestly silly probably isn’t a good start in most cases but it doesn’t instantly relegate a movie to the bad category.
Now there are a lot of people who think that some movies that I think are just plain old good movies, would fit into this category. The Original Buffy the Vampire Slayer Movie, Buckaroo Bonzai, and Boondock Saints. To me these aren’t bad movies (they defiantly aren’t movies for everyone though) they’re quirky, mold breaking movies but they are well written, acted and directed. Again it is all in the eye of the beholder.
Also there are some good movies that just have bad effects. (There are probably more bad moves with good effects, I am looking at you Michael Bay.) A lot of these gems come from the seventies and before. I had a friend whose sons both under nine just laughed through the briefing scene of Star Wars: The New Hope, because of the primitive computer graphics that the ultra tech aliens had showing their plan to attack the Death Star. Some of the best writing in Doctor Who was during the Tom Baker era but the effects often look like they are made of paper mache.
So let’s look at some utterly deplorable movies that are also fun.
Rubber (2010): This movie is so bad it literally tries to end itself early by killing the audience by serving them poisoned turkey. When it starts a cop explains that the great moments of cinema happen for no reason. That life has no reason. He is basically telling you that there is no reason for this movie.
So what is this movie with no reason about? Huh, oh you mean the plot. Well there is this tire that is upset it got thrown in the trash, and it gains psychic powers and can now blow up people and goes on a bloody rampage of revenge. Oh and there is this hot French chick, who gets stalked by the tire (whose is named Robert in the credits) I mean she’s really hot, in fact Roxane Mesquida can actually keep you attention in a movie that has her being stalked by a tire.
Directed by a musician who goes by the name Mr. Oizo, it was originally about an invasion by cubes from outer space (I am looking at you Mat Smith) but he didn’t like the original FX test so said, “Hey we will just make the antagonist and old tire.” Which looks so much better on the big screen than crazy space cubes.”
Space Mutiny (1988): I first saw this movie on Mystery Science Theater 3000 and well MST3K makes every bad movie better. But a friend of mine picked it up in a bargain bin for a couple of bucks un-MST3k’d, in fact it even said on the case that it was so bad that it had been featured on Mystery Science, and that it was hilarious…but not on purpose. There is a lot of retroactive arguments by the cast that this was meant to be a parody from the beginning. This is especially stated by Cissie Cameron who played Dr. Lea Jansen, though only thirty-eight at the time the movie was made, bad makeup and an even worse eighties hair style makes her looks like she is pushing sixty. Also she has no chemistry with male lead and Romanic interest Reb Brown, despite the fact that they have been married since 1978.
On the original movie CD box it is claimed the movie had the same effects team a Star Wars. Technically that is true since all the space ship scenes where outtakes from the Original Battle Star Galatica. I am not making this up, the ship called The Southern Sun has the word Galatica painted on its side. And inside the ship is worse. This high tech spaceship innards are a brick walled factory, with get this windows where blue sky and sunlight can be seen.
David Winters was the original director. I mean you can’t go wrong with the choreographer from The Star Wars Holiday special, right? Unfortunately there was a death in his family and he left when the movie had just started filming. When he saw the finished product he thought it was so bad he tried to get the director credits changed to Alan Smithee, but the Director’s Guild wouldn’t do it because the movie was to low budget for them to care about.
So if you decide to see Space Mutiny, do yourself a favor get the copy with Mike and the ‘bots, you will appreciate it more.
Bleak Future (1997): My sister picked this movie up for me at a 99-cent store. Of the three of us that tried to watch it all the way through I am the only one who made it all the way through. My thoughts when it concluded where, somewhere out there someone is saying “yea, we made a movie.” OK, how bad is this movie, basically it can be summed up, as if the GM that can never focus on one campaign, the psuedo-intellect who watched way to much Dr Who, his stoner girlfriend, and that guy who all through high school wore trench coats, even during the summer, made a movie about their characters in their favorite GURPS apocalypse game.
The main characters is The Slangman (as opposed to all those other Slangmen out there) who literally sells words,, a kilt wearing mute barbarian, and a blonde ditz actress, all search for the Source, some kind of ancient knowledge Mcgruffin. While being chased by an assassin who urinates Malathion on people to kill them.
This movie is proud that it was shot entirely on Super-8. And their web site claims that there is even a Pig Latin dubbing in the DVD. Honestly it is a shame that I am the only one who made it all the way through the movie in our group. The last three minutes or so have some decent (For low budget movie standards at least) effects and a pretty nifty plot twist.
Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959): this movie has been touted as the worst movie ever made. Ed Wood loved movies as much as he loved dressing up in woman’s clothes. He just didn’t have any talent for making them, but you got to give the guy an A for effort.
The movie starts with a monolog by the reported psychic Criswell that can’t be missed. So as my civic duty to make sure you don’t miss it here it is.
Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future. You are interested in the unknown… the mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you are here. And now, for the first time, we are bringing to you, the full story of what happened on that fateful day. We are bringing you all the evidence, based only on the secret testimony, of the miserable souls, who survived this terrifying ordeal. The incidents, the places. My friend, we cannot keep this a secret any longer. Let us punish the guilty. Let us reward the innocent. My friend, can your heart stand the shocking facts of grave robbers from outer space?
And for those of you who don’t like to read.
Uh, hey Cris is this movie in the future or in the past? Because if it is in the future, the future looks a lot like 1950’s San Fernando Valley.
The plot, if you can call it that is about aliens invading Earth, with a plan to reanimate corpse turn them into zombies attack and then disintegrate the zombies in front of their loved ones, demoralizing the Earthlings leaving them ripe for an interstellar invasion. Really guys you are form space and that is the best you could come up with? Plans one through eight must have really sucked for you to go with this one.
There are a lot of legends about this movie. The famous scene where the cop keeps pointing the gun at himself, was because the actor wanted to see if Director Ed Woods would notice (he didn’t and went with those shots in his final print) The film was funded by a Baptist Church so as part of the deal was some of the cast and crew had to agree to be baptized. Tor Johnson’s scar keeps appearing in different places throughout the movie because it irritated his skin and had to be moved each day.
And of course the most famous is that Woods got aging Dracula star Bela Lugosi to play a part and the guy dies a few days into the shooting. So they hired this chiropractor to finish the movie as his characters. The Chiropractor was much taller than the famed Drac actor and didn’t look a thing like him so he goes around the movie covering his face with a cape. The truth is that the shots were of Bela Lugosi were actually made for an un-named Wood project and got shoehorned into Plan 9. Still this is an awesome example of a great bad movie.
2012 (2009): Ok, ok, I know a lot of people love this movie but I hated it when I first saw it. The movie is full of unpleasant characters that exist only to be killed off in boring ways, and actors that phone in their roles. Sure the effects are spectacular but that is not enough to make a movie for me. And yes I like Woody Haralson as the drugged out gonzo reporter and the super volcano at Yellowstone is a great scene, but that is five minutes of a move that was…uh, how long did that thing go on for, eternity?
But someone suggested I treat it like the 60’s Bat Man TV show, and in that way it is so bad it is good. I mean if someone on a Star Trek spin off came up with that way lame technobabble they would be fired form the set immediately. What really killed it for me was the line “The neutrinos are mutating.” Neutrinos are inanimate matter only biological matter mutates. Yes neutrinos do change, but they solar neutrinos don’t affect the earth core the way they say they do in the movie.
What saves the movie for me is an obscure trivia fact. Though the movies is inspired by a lot of pseudoscience and new wave writings it relies a lot on Ignatius Donnelly’s Atlantis: The Antediluvian World. John Cusack’s character writes a book about the space shuttle Atlantis. To me that is the coolest thing about the whole movie. You have to be a geek of the obscure to think that is cool or that it saves this disaster of a movie.
Sharknado (2013) Ok, this is a deliberate attempt to make a ‘good bad movie’, and for me it works. I mean the guy who wrote it is named Thunder Levin whose previous credits is Mutant Vampires Zombie in the Hood. And if you ask me this was two million bucks well spent.
There is no way someone could confuse this with high drama, they fly in a helicopter and drop a bomb made out a propane bottle and a road flare, in to a tornado full of sharks. That is absurd. Absurdly fun that is. All logic and science is replace by coolness. Hey sharks land in the swimming pool, but are not effected by the chlorine, hey they are some tough sharks. Look its TV’s cousin Oliver and he is driving a school bus, that right there is cool enough for us to forget that the water level surrounding the bus keeps going up and down. There is a global warning warming plot. Who cares did you see the cutie in the Daisy Dukes?
This movie doesn’t try to be anything more than a joke. It is the class clown whose humor is always directed at himself. We aren’t laughing at the movie we are laughing with it. And in case you don’t get the Joke then the Rifftrax’s guys will spell it out for you.