Christopher Brown can be found at @uncoolcat on twitter. He has also made frequent guest appearances on The GGTMC Podcast. He's good people.
How many times have I pushed films like The Third Man or City of God to the back-burner in order to watch The Super Ninja or Exciting Dragon? Not enough I tells ya!
There's something about pure trash cinema, the completely unadulterated stuff, that cannot be replicated in any other form. Sure, there's lots of winking at the camera movies that are entertaining, but they certainly can't hope to compete with the aesthetic of complete, unhinged lunacy that can be found in the dollar bin of film history. However, I would be hesitant to call many of these films "bad". Maybe different. Or how about cinematically challenged? Either way, "so bad they're good" movies can be a heck of a lot of fun.
But then there's the "they're actually awesome and people mistakenly think they're bad" movies. Some of these films can be ahead of their time (Pennies From Heaven, Blade Runner, Exorcist III) and eventually audiences finally catch up with them, usually after careers are destroyed. And some are so off the beaten track that the best they will ever gain are a cult audience. But that's okay too. This list has a smattering of both. Some can be seen as misunderstood classics and some are here because of my bad taste. Enjoy!
FREDDY GOT FINGERED (2001)
One of the biggest "fuck yous" to the formulaic studio comedy, using a ton of their money doing it, and mocking them in the process, Tom Green's hilarious Freddy Got Fingered virtually destroyed anyone's career who was unlucky enough to be walking by the set. Green plays Gord, not so much a man-child as a manhoneybadgerbaby who dreams of fame and fortune while licking his friend's exposed broken bone, saving the day by swinging a dead baby over his head and jacking off more than one member (heh, member) of the animal kingdom. All this while his father, played to amazing effect by Rip Torn, visibly disapproves. But what many write off as stupid, is a vicious parody of what is considered modern entertainment on par with Monty Python's Meaning of Life's vicious parody of... well, everything. Gord's wheelchair bound, submissive, rocket scientist love interest who doesn't want anything in life except to suck his cock is a perfect example of the lame-o romantic interests in Hollywood films cranked up to 11. But even without the film being smart, it's still funny as hell. Just don't watch it with a PETA member. Ha, member.
Apparently Stephen King was inspired to write his novel Dreamcatcher after looking in the toilet after doing his business and seeing blood along with his poop. The novel and the movie both perfectly encapsulate the feeling of life's unpredictability and ridiculousness. And they're both a hoot and a holler.
What starts out as an atmospheric, moody horror/supernatural tale surprisingly turns guano insane with the introduction of aliens, a mentally challenged Donnie Wahlberg, shit weasels and a Story of Ricky style monster battle. The ensemble cast does a great job portraying the typical King characters in a untypical King situation, and though the change of atmosphere is abrupt, the lunacy of the second half is quite pacy. And what other movie are you going to see characters doing battle with poop? None!
An entertainment lawyer decides that if no one wants him to be a Hollywood action star he needs to take matters into his own hands. He puts up his own money and hires some out of work B movie actors and goes about making his epic, starring himself, directed by himself with music performed by himself. Luckily, this is not the plot, but the story of John DeHart's journey to make his masterpiece (AKA: his only film) Geteven. And if you think the grammar's bad, just wait until you see the film itself! Satan worshipping judges, shimmy, shimmy slides, Wings Hauser and William Smith and some amazing wardrobe choices are many of the amazing elements that give this vanity piece it's awesomeness. And as a fun game, try and find the spot in the film where DeHart's expression changes! Bet you can't find it on the first watch! Unmissable. Unless you miss it.
What's the difference between Clifford and a pit bull? One will tear your heart out, scare your friends and wreck your house. The other one is a dog That's right. Clifford's tagline is a joke. And not a very good one. But don't let that put you off, this is an incredibly funny and bizarre outing. What I feared was going to be a children's film is one of the most unrepentantly mean spirited comedies about some people's hatred of children. Now if this was done with an actual child playing the title character, the film would be horrific, but when that child is played by a full grown Martin Short eerily hamming it up as a ten year old, then who wouldn't follow Charles Grodin in his quest to kill him? Chock full of funny lines, Grodin being driven insane, a dinosaur named Stephan and Dabney Coleman, Clifford is definitely funnier than a pit bull. That's an even worse punchline.
THE DEMON LOVER (1977)
"We've entered the gates of hell" says the Frank Zappa looking dude when he walks into a somewhat creepy room. Donald Jackson's fantastically god awful Demon Lover is a barrel of guffaws, from the inept film making to the vanity project script from "Christmas Robbins" who went as far as to "accidentally" chop off a couple fingers at work in order to fund this disasterpiece where he plays the lead, bad-ass, knife throwing Satan worshipper who lives in a castle. Watch in awe as Robbins battles wits with the local detective, gasp in horror as gals get into whip cream fights and stifle your laughter as Gunnar Hanson shows up to collect a paycheck. Also, do yourself a favour and watch the great documentary made by the asshole cameraman called Demon Lover Diary about the making of the film, staying at the Robbin's household and Ted Nugent.
THE STUPIDS (1996)
THE STUPIDS (1996)
It seemed with this John Landis had returned to form! But audiences stayed away in droves and he went on to make Blues Brothers 2000. Bummer.
Landis takes the sensibility of a children's book and makes a completely insane film about a family that really should have died by their own hands in scene one. Tom Arnold is great as Stanley Stupid, the idiotic father who puts his family in constant danger. And Christopher Lee is fantastic as the villainous Mr. Sender! Standout moments are Arnold's rousing rendition of I'm My Own Grandpa, Arnold's moment of sanity and when we visit Mr. Sender's evil lair. Great stuff.
Joe Berlinger was doomed before he even put pen to paper on this one. People had already begun to turn (wrongly) on the original and were waiting for the sequel to fail. Berlinger took an interesting approach to the sequel, especially considering he is known as a documentarian. He makes a creepy, smart, and meta examination of the media while adding to the Blair Witch mythology and completely foregoing the found footage approach. Sure there is some below average performances, but seriously, this is a low budget horror flick. Were people expecting Jean De Florette? There really is enough good stuff here to elevate it to one of the better horror films of the aughts, let alone erase it's reputation as a horrible film.
Mostly forgotten, but this neat little horror film about a children's show host who murders abusive parents has one great thing going for it. Tom Basham's amazingly bizarre performance as Mr. Rabbey. He chews the scenery like it's salt water taffy. Or chocolate cake, his favourite (if you don't believe me, check out the youtube clip of one of the most wacky dialogue exchanges in film history). It may not be a perfect movie, but Basham makes this a must see for fans of offbeat performances. Oddly enough, Buddy G and Joe Spinell's unfinished film Maniac 2: Mr. Robbie seems to be essentially a remake of this.
TARKAN VS THE VIKINGS (1971)
The dazzling tale of Tarkan and his dog..... er... I mean wolf, Kurt. See Tarkan take on vikings, an octopus that would make Ed Wood proud and sanity! Barely a dull moment in this violent, colourful comic book based film. And make sure to pick up the Mondo Macabro Turkish Pop Cinema disc that also includes the great Deathless Devil.
Creepy fucking title, huh? Truth be told, it's been a long time since seeing this one and I barely remember the plot. But the one thing that will stick in my mind until my dying breath is William Shatner's completely bonkers performance as Matt Stone. Rarely has overacting reached such extravagant levels. The movie could be test and tone inter cut with Shatner doing his thing, and it would still be a must watch. Seriously, you need to see this now. Heck, I do too come to think of it.