Rupert Pupkin Speaks: "Bad" Movies We Love Guest List: John Gholson ""

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

"Bad" Movies We Love Guest List: John Gholson

John Gholson is a writer for and the Director of Creative Development for Rocksauce Studios. He's a fella you should be reading.

It took me a while to come up with a list of bad movies I love. To me, if I love it, I mean truly love a movie, then it’s not wholly “bad.” I could conjure up some weak guilty pleasures (Red Planet, Jackie Chan’s Around the World in 80 Days for example), but I had to dig deep -- what are some real turds that I would watch again and again? Once I started answering that question, the list kept growing. I wouldn’t count this as a Top Ten, but here are ten films in no particular order that are pretty terrible and that I would watch without shame anytime they are on (and gladly force on others, in my only form of tolerable torture).

Black Shampoo (1976)
I’ve never seen Shampoo, but I seriously doubt anyone is sodomized with a hot curling iron. Is there a scene where Warren Beatty, with chainsaw in hand and intent to kill, chases down some guys who wrecked his beauty salon? Didn’t think so. This is a hilariously outlandish blaxploitation junker from Greydon Clark (Joysticks, Satan’s Cheerleaders) and if there was a dopier film made in 1976, then I have yet to see it.

Godzilla’s Revenge(1969)
This kid named Ichiro is picked on by bullies (largely because he’s kind of irritating), so he goes to this old guy’s house to use a radio that he pretends can tune in to Monster Island. Ichiro goes into sort of a trance-like state and can see the monsters duking it out in his mind, with Godzilla’s Barneyesque son Minya as his tour guide. Everything about this movie totally sucks. Why then have I seen it more than any other Godzilla movie? People. I need professional help. Someone. Call a doctor.

Swamp Thing(1982)
An early 80’s cable mainstay that I still defend as Wes Craven’s best movie, Swamp Thing has an old fashioned monster movie quality that’s missing from a lot of horror films from this time period. Arguably the best film on this bad movie list, I included it anyway because of its stiff rubber suit special effects, which were already hopelessly outclassed in 1982, and its awkward mix of superheroics, horror, sci-fi, and action beats, which exist as separate moments, never really blending together smoothly. Having grown up with it, I can forgive its flaws, but I’ve watched it with people who’ve never seen it before and they look at me like I have a severe head injury.

Death Wish Club(1983)
This is a new bad favorite, and I’ve subjected a handful of friends to its “charms” in just the short time that I’ve been aware of it. It appears in a truncated form as one of the stories in Night Train to Terror, but the whole film must be seen to be believed. In it, a millionaire picks up a carny and turns her into a porn star. A college kid sees her porno, falls in love, seeks her out, and suddenly finds himself wrapped up in the Millionaire’s “Death Wish Club,” a group of idle rich who play elaborate Russian roulette-style games for the thrill of almost dying. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I can guarantee you’ve never seen anything quite like this.

Night of the Demons(1988)
Nothing encapsulates 1980’s horror films better than Night of the Demons, a truly idiotic blast of gory nonsense involving a disparate group of teenagers who conjure a demon at a Halloween party in a haunted funeral home. Full of inexplicable FX (like Linnea Quigley stuffing lipstick directly into her nipple), ridiculous dialogue, and annoying kill-fodder characters, Night of the Demons takes everything you ever liked about any horror film from the 1980’s and finds a way to work it in poorly, without a trace of irony.

Ernest Saves Christmas (1988)
Is Noelle Parker hot now? I’d assume so. She was hot when I was thirteen and watched Ernest Saves Christmas on continual loop during the month of December. This is the best Ernest movie -- no argument. Spoiler: The title is a spoiler.

Secrets of the Satin Blues (aka Les Folies D’Elodie) (1981)
This is a softcore French film that used to play every single night on Showtime in the early 1990s. It’s Look Who’s Talking with a pair of panties. Basically, the talking undies narrate a story of various escapades as they keep getting tossed around all over the place. Seriously, don’t watch it.

Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988)
I believe this was a staple of USA Up All Night, and for a kid in junior high this was exactly the kind of dumb to make a great impression. Rowdy Rodder Piper plays Hell, the last fertile man in a post-apocalyptic future run by war-mongering frogs. Donald G. Jackson never made a better film than Hell Comes to Frogtown. It’s also the kind of movie that’s almost always better in your memory than when you are actually watching it.

The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000)
For my money there is no better live-action Hanna Barbera adaptation than this largely ignored Flintstones sequel. Everything is better than the first one - it’s funnier, dumber, and the cast is better at imitating their small screen counterparts (Addy and Baldwin > Goodman and Moranis, by a country mile). It’s also a great showcase for Alan Cumming, who plays both the wish- fulfilling alien Gazoo and the British rock star Mick Jagged. No one cares about this movie or that I like it, but there ya go.


sleestakk said...

Godzilla's Revenge I've also seen more than any other Godzilla film... probably because for whatever reason it aired on our local weekly Creature Feature program more than the others. Having fond memories of it I revisited a couple years ago and was dismayed that it's such a terrible movie. I still love it but wow.

FakeShemp said...

great list.

I'm queuing up Viva Rock Vegas right now. For that, I hate you.

Ivan said...

Rupert Pupkin & John Gholson,
I genuinely like, perhaps even love, Godzilla's Revenge--but only if you DON'T think of it as a Godzilla movie. I think of the movie as an Afterschool Special about a lonely boy with a very overactive imagination. Had the giant monster been called anything else other than Godzilla, I think folks wouldn't have disliked it as much--as the flick is hardly canonical.
I wrote a much longer piece about the movie here:

Thanks for letting me rant,

Jstant said...

Glad to you that you mentioned "Death Wish Club" in your list. It's really in a league of it's own, and is a film that I think will get a sizable cult following as word gets around.
Honestly, I've never seen anything like it before and nearly everyone I've ever screened it for has been dumbfounded.
So many it brilliant or terrible? Is it tongue-in-cheek or head-up-ass?
Is Meredith Haze a kind of naive genius of an actor, or a rebel with a clue?
I've got a million more...
Anyway, thanks again for posting about one of the most original and fascinating films I've ever seen.