This may sound quite odd but I love bad movies. It has to be the correct sort of dreadfulness to make me want to see it. Not the sort that win at the Razzies as they deserve that award. Lots of money, high priced stars and it still comes up smelling of what can be found in a field full of cows!
I’m talking of the low budget sort. Find a couple of friends and then make a movie. However, there is a different set of these. It will be best described as the 80s. That decade made some great, but deadful, movies. Just take a look at one of my bibles, badmovies.org’s website. A cornucopia of dreadfulness. From the totally unwatchable to the odd gem. One that comes under the latter is one from 1988 called The Uninvited. A film about a psychotic cat living inside a noticeably smaller one. It has it all; dreadful acting, dubious plot and on many occasions you see the arm of the cat’s puppeteer.
It has to fulfil some categories. It has to have a synopsis that makes you go “What did I just read” or “It did actually mention a Man eating mouse“. A synopsis that makes you go WTF and then have to check with someone else that that is what you just read. The acting has to be, at most, passable but the worse the acting the more it can draw you in under the, flawed, assumption that it will get better. The special effects should also all be done “in camera” – I have seen films that you can tell that some of the grips are just throwing buckets of blood over the “star” that is trying to act scared and simultaneously trying not to burst into laughter. Science Fiction films are great for being dreadful. Normally the budget is whatever you can get for $10 at the local wal-mart. Fairy-lights for a star field. Everything you can think of that can be found in a kitchen, garden or off an old car.
Horror films are great for playing a game. Alcohol maybe needed. This is watching the film, and then working out who will die. More specifically, what order people will die in. The second part is the “Who will survive“. We all know that the jock and the girl who is seen topless within the first couple of minutes. The nerdy character normally dies just at the end when you are convinced that he will survive. His death will be pivotal as he will be the one that constructs the only device that will kill the evil monster. That’s all well and good until we hit halfway through act 3 and we discover that the device won’t work unless he sacrifices himself for the good of the rest of the survivors.
We have seen titles like “Only one survives”. This is perfect for the above mentioned game. A lot of the time it’s hard to decide between two characters.
You maybe wondering why one of the worst movies ever made, Plan 9 from Outer Space, hasn’t been mentioned. This is because it’s become a cult classic. I’m not a big fan of this sort of dreadful movie. If it becomes a cult then it has a following and it can change your view on what you are watching.
There is another great resource for the connoisseur of dreadfulness is the Internet archive‘s selection of out of copyright movies. I have seen some great Japanese/American co-production monster movies, a mix of interesting horror movies from the 50s. Some staring such luminaries as Christopher Lee.
Not only can you watch that sort of thing, you can also watch some great 20s and 30s cartoons. The sort that would make you wince due to it’s casual racism, sexism and a small dollop of xenophobia. The best ones to have all three are a set of Superman cartoons set in the 40s with the titular character fighting the “evil Japs”.
Another great place to see some bad things is the titular youTube. Mostly it’s full of cats doing “funny” things but you can find some hidden gems. Private SNAFU from America is one of those gems. We did also discover a huge selection of Lego shorts that are one of the best things ever done in Lego.
I will leave you with one of my favourite bad movies. That being the amazing Star Crash. A film staring not only The Hoff but Christopher Plummer. One of them are confused as why they are there and the other seems happy he has a job.`
PETE CLEMENZA: "Leave the gun. Take the cannolis." from THE GODFATHER