Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Bad films

Ed Gorman wrote in his blog:

The local community college here runs movies every night on the tube. They concentrate on action flicks--westerns, Flash Gordon type sci-fi, jungle pictures--with the rare exception of a B melodrama or noir.
When they first began telecasting, I thought this would be a lot of fun. All those crummy movies from my earliest days in the second run theaters of that era during and after the war.
I lasted a week. I think maybe it was the Mexican horror movie that did me in. The only film I've ever seen that made The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant look like serious art.

I know what he feels like. Now, I'm a basically a friend of good films, even though I've been known to dig into some really bad stuff. I like sleaze, but I like it well-handled, not just some sloppy splattering. I don't like gratuitous violence, even though it's only the mondo documentaries that make me sick (such as Faces of Death). My three all-time favourite movies are (have been for a while if anybody asks) Orson Welles's Touch of Evil, Andrey Tarkovsky's The Mirror and Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Samourai. Not very trashy, huh? (Even though there are certain elements of trash and camp in Welles's pre-postmodern masterpiece.)

But while I know what Ed's feeling, I am fascinated by films as bad as the Mexican horror flick he mentions having seen. But I like more to read about Z grade films rather than see them. They bore me out, but reading about them is a great joy. Take for instance Devil Monster (I have the ugly Finnish poster, can't scan it, but if we get to buy the digital camera we've been talking about for a year, I'll put it here). It must be one hell of a bore, but reading that it's almost 50% of archive footage and that the final battle with the manta ray is filmed through the glass of the sea aquarium makes me chuckle. And what entertains me even more is that this is the only film its director-producer-writer ever made - with the exception of the earlier version of the same story! (Made cheaply in Mexico some ten years earlier... How pathetic can you go?)

The same applies to the classics like Plan 9 from Outer Space. I had read about its sloppiness through the years so much that I couldn't get anything out of it when I finally saw the film. Same happened with The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, which we looked through with fast forward.

The funniest description of a bad movie, though, must be about Grizzly. An Imdb user writes:

The forest ranger tracks down Yogi to an open field and is going to have a man to bear fight to settle it all. Bear charges the ranger and what does the ranger have up his sleeve? A rocket launcher! He fires it at the bear and this bear must have been drinking gasoline for breakfast because it is the biggest explosion you have ever seen. You can even see pieces of wood fly out during the explosion. This bear was full of all kinds of foreign objects. I'm amazed the explosion didn't level the ranger and a two mile radius around Yogi and his diesel engine stomach. I rewound this scene about five times cheering all the way.

I get a kick out of this everytime I even think about it.

Now, I saw "Revenge of the Shit.. sorry, Sith" yesterday, but more about it later.

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