I am, always have been, and always will be a lover and admirer of bad things. Not in the Jace Everett kind of way, but in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 kind of way. Things done lazily. Half assed, sliphod, shoestring budget kinds of things. Movies that are a victim of their creators, their time period, their limited resources, including creativity. There’s just nothing better than a bad movie. A really bad movie. Zardos, Reptilicus, The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, The Collosus of New York….the list is never ending.
It’s particularly funny that I found this graphic. When we were kids, we used to buy the latest Sci-fi movie magazines at the local 5 and dime. One actually did a feature on “Laserblast”. Hence forth, whenever we used a magnifying glass in the hot sun to burn holes in something, it was called “Laserblasting”. Of course, our first victim was that magazine. I can still see Keenan Wynn’s charred eyeballs in that photo. After that, many grasshoppers and other large bugs were similarly sacrificed, much to our eeevil childish delight.
In fact, that love of cinematic tripe gives me a warm fuzzy every year when I see Crow T Robot on the dash of the Widgermobile at Cruise Night in our fair city.
My brothers and sister and I grew up watching this kind of drivel. We did it before Lenoard Pinth Garnell ever uttered the words “Bad Cinema”. I have yet to see Manos -The Hands Of Fate, The Night Emily Crawled Out Of Her Grave and Macabre. I have suffered through Straight Jacket, Plan 9, The Giant Gila Monster, and of course, Laserblast. The only one I have tried and failed at is The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed Up Zombies. I tried, I really did. But that one was too much for even my seasoned bad cinema skills.
I have loved poorly done garbage my entire life, and I don’t know if its nature, nurture, or on their own, but my children have grown to love a craptastic film fest too. The names of Samuel Arkoff, Ed Wood and William Castle are as familiar to them as Lego, Darth Vader and McDonalds. Just this past Sunday, my youngest son was over for a visit, and urged me once again to watch Nazis At The Center Of The Earth. He reminded me that it stars none other than the incomparable Jake Busey. Maybe he’s on to something. Maybe my son has a gift for predicting the up and coming. Sure, Jake Busey has been in a lot of movies, but maybe NATCOTE will be a breakout hit for him.
After all, Jack Nicholson did appear in Little Shop of Horrors before he was anybody. Multiple Oscar winner Tom Hanks met a tragic end, with his head in an aquarium in He Knows You’re Alone, and who could forget, America’s favorite dad, Hugh Beaumont, and his sidekick, major box office champ John Agar in The Mole People? Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellwiger also appeared in the little gem “Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Next Generation”.
We just have to think of these Hollywood icons as the silver lining in these shoddy films. Paying their dues the hard way. At the hand of the ax wielding psycho, the crazed lunatic with a hankerin’ for a plateful of human entrails, the swarm of angry bees, or the giant rubber aliens with a really bad attitude. Watch these movies if you will, with a wistful and nostalgic eye. Play a game with your kiddies. Watch the old ones to see if they can spot the stars when they were nobodys. Watch the new ones with a keen eye for who will take home the Academy Award some day. If you make it a drinking game, and give your little ones a shot of Nyquil every time the body count goes up, nightmares shouldn’t be an issue.
Enjoy these cinematic treasures for what they are, and be thankful that at the end of the day, you can just shut them off. Feel good knowing that your favorite stars are now settling down to sleep in their 12,000 square feet mansions, instead of cowering in fear for their life and career. While you, meanwhile, try to fall asleep in that cabin in the woods that your friends assured you was safe, because most of them did come home alive last year. Nitey….niiiiight…..