Blog Directory CineVerse: So bad they're good: The strange, sour appeal of putrid pictures

So bad they're good: The strange, sour appeal of putrid pictures

Thursday, July 30, 2009

by Erik J. Martin

Call it a fascination with the fetid, an intrigue for the intolerable or a penchant for the putrescent. But many movie lovers, myself included, are often drawn hypnotically toward bad movies--not unlike a moth toward the alluring glow of the bug zapper.

Film critic Roger Ebert famously said in his book "I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie" that no good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough. But when you relish the taste of rotten celluloid like cavia
r, the opposite is usually true.

Yes, there have been countless bigscreen stinkers foisted upon the American moviegoer over the past 100 years. Some of the heavyweight contenders include "Plan 9 From Outer Space," "The Beast of Yucca Flats," "Ishtar," "Caligula," and even last year's "The Hottie and the Nottie" starring Paris Hilton--all of them deliciously memorable in the "bad" department.

Two more that come to mind are "Santa Claus Versus the Martians" and "Manos: The Hands of Fate," two prime examples
of why the 1960s was the decade of choice for afficianados of atrocious entertainment at 24 frames per second (two flicks that were also mercilessly spoofed on "Mystery Science Theater 3000").

The latest B-feature earning cult classic status is "The Room" (2003), directed by and starring Tommy Wiseau, which simply must be seen to be believed. It's quickly become a midnight movie sensation, as evidenced by packed houses on select Friday nights at The Music Box Theater in Chicago. When I attended a late-night showing recently, I was amazed at how many viewers knew most of the piss-poor dialogue by heart. If you do get the opportunity to check out "The Room" at The Music Box, be su
re to bring a football and plastic spoons--you'll quickly figure out why.

If your funnybone can take the stress, here's a nomination for a pair of overlooked Limburger cheeses that can really clear out a room with their collective stench: "Spice World" and "Leprechaun 5: In the Hood."

Before Britney Spears and N’Sync there was another sickly sw
eet pop act that dominated the charts and the posterized bedroom walls of young teenage girls everywhere—the English flavored Spice Girls, whose formulaic music and cheeky cheesecake bubbly-ness were neatly packaged to the hungry masses in the mid-1990s. But while their tunes may have been catchy for their time (and hard to avoid if you owned a radio), their bigscreen presence left, well, more than a bland aftertaste. One could argue that "Spice World" (1997) did have dashes of infectious energy and flavorful, toe-tapping fun--at least in a colorfully campy sense. The plot, however, is where this picture particularly shines in the annals of badness. Scary, Baby, Sporty, Ginger and Posh Spice become an overnight musical sensation, strut around wearing a lot of makeup and not a lot of clothes, lip sync their songs to plastic perfection and share plenty of giggles. It’s no “Hard Days Night” (a film which it not-so-subtly rips off), but “Spice World” does offer more unintentional laughs per minute than an Ed Wood B-flick from the fifties.

St. Patrick’s Day may have come and gone, but that wee little green gremlin from the "Leprechaun" series (you remember the first "Leprechaun," featuring a fresh-faced Jennifer Aniston? Of course you do) is back to his old bloody shenanigans in "Leprechaun 5" (2000). Only this time, he takes his Irish ire to Compton, where three aspiring rappers have stolen the Leprechaun’s magic flute. That’s when the four-leaf cleaver goes on a killing spree, taking out one homeboy in the hood after another. Gun-toting street gangs quickly learn that they’re no match for a 600-year old munchkin packin’ a deadly dose of unlucky charms. Word up to all you Dr. Dre wannabees—don’t be trippin’ with Lep daddy’s woodwind! Ice T stars opposite Warwick Davis, who reprises his role as the Irish cherub of death with a fetish for shoes and a proclivity for morbid humor delivered with a laughably bad brogue. If you're looking for a guffaw-generating, roll-on-the-floor kind of night at the movies, rent this rotter and enjoy.

  © Blogger template Cumulus by 2008

Back to TOP