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Author Topic: things that make a bad movie good  (Read 3551 times)
zombie #1
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« on: July 08, 2008, 09:28:02 PM »

?

what is the secret.

I think a lot of it might have to do with total lack of consistency in plot/acting/dialogue between characters...or maybe films that swerve wildly between serious drama and complete farce, yet you get the impression the director thinks he/she's coming up with a consistent piece of work.

I dunno...any thoughts? Is there a kind of formula for bad movies or is it random? goes without saying some movies are so bad they're bad, but some are so bad they're good, so what's the distinguishing 'x-factor'.
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« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2008, 10:49:45 PM »

I don't think it's as simple as one factor in a film. I've noticed that every "B" movie touches a chord in at least some of us, there are those that do so for a large number of people for whatever reason and they become the "GOOD" bad movies. Some, like "The Giant Claw" or "Plan Nine from Outerspace", are just so inept that they're fun to watch over and over, others, while they may have a fairly silly plot, make it easy to suspend your disbelief and just enjoy a good story. I think that "X the Unknown" and "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms" fall into this category. Some are just good movies, "The Thing from Another World" is one of these, good story, good acting, great movie, but that's just my opinion. The great thing about a "B" movie is that it will effect each  one who views it in a different way. My wife and I just watched "The Phantom Empire" and while I found it to be so mind numbingly stupid it was painful, she laughed through most of it and thought it was quite funny even if it was stupid. There you have it, 1 movie, 2 people, 2 different opinions, that's what makes a horse race.
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zombie #1
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Oookaay...


« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2008, 11:17:29 PM »

My wife and I just watched "The Phantom Empire" and while I found it to be so mind numbingly stupid it was painful, she laughed through most of it and thought it was quite funny even if it was stupid. There you have it, 1 movie, 2 people, 2 different opinions, that's what makes a horse race.

fair enough, it might all be down to personal discretion. however, me and my 2nd youngest brother both seem to have this kind of telepathy which means we both connect with exactly the same 'bad = good' reasons for liking a certain bad film, which makes me think there must be something more overriding to it, if that makes sense. something that maybe cant be described in words even...I dunno. but I hear what you're saying
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« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2008, 11:37:48 PM »

I think Dennis  has got it....I enjoy differnt "BAD" movies for different reasons.
The BRIDE of the NONSTER is pretty much Z budget drek-but the magnetic Bela Lugosi and his dimwitted servent Tor Johnson make it a joy to watch.
 BLOODFREAK,with it's  ridiculous paper mache -headed,blood drinking turkey monster,along with the Jesus freak girl,pot smoking bad guys,atrocious acting,and mindless babble narration leaves me in astonished awe that the makers of this film even had the balls to release it for public veiwing. It's all so insanley retarded.
 And some I can't even figure out why I like them. The ASTOUNDING SHE MONSTER is one of these. Pretty much a lame,ultra low budget fiasco....but I just love it. Is it the weird,glowing alien girl? The gangster's perpetually drunken moll? The hero talking to his dog? The fact that I may be mentally ill,or a glutton for punishment? I dunno.

The fact that Ed Wood made a BAD movie that a vast majority of veiwers find wonderfully enjoyable (PLAN 9) , attests to his "talentless genuis" for the inanely bizzare. Maybe what a lot of them have in common,at least the enjoyable ones...is they have HEART. Unlike many big-budget crap-which seem to operate on the premise that lotsa expensive FX and a big name star ='GOOD" (ie-ARMEGEDDON).
  Some belittle and laugh at these movies. I LOVE these movies. Some make me laugh,others amaze me...but I don't look down at them. Even some of the most excrutiatingly horrendous ones fascinate me. Why? I dunno.
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2008, 06:47:16 AM »

What makes a bad movie good for me is usually when over-the-top random stuff happens that makes little sense, but you don't so much have time to think about how little sense it makes because you're too stunned to notice.

Example: I just reviewed Hard Rock Zombies. It's badly shot, badly edited, the audio is terrible, the acting is wretched, and the music would make my mp3 player melt like a Nazi's face in the presence of the Ark. But, whereas these elements would spell certain doom for your basic crappy horror flick, the wild elements being thrown in your face like so much monkey poo leave you too disoriented and scratching your head to hate it. You get a zombie hair metal band who are brought back from the dead (and inexplicably given new outfits in the process...) by a Latin chant; you get a family of incestuous Nazis led by Hitler and his wheelchair-bound, switchblade-wielding werewolf wife; you get a troll eating himself; you get Phil Fondacaro in an eyepath attacking a cow; you get a bimbo flashdancing through the streets at dusk for no reason what-so-ever; you get a small town jail that consists of a barn with bars on the window, straw all over the floor, and stacks of boxes in the holding cell; you get ignorant townsfolk who try to fight the zombies with big paintings of celebrities' heads; you get the title band performing a concert for a recording studio exec, earning themselves a contract, only to return to the grave for, again, no reason what-so-ever; and probably the most disturbing story element: you get the hero of the movie carrying on a wholly inappropriate flirtatious relationship with a 14yr old girl who looks like a Romanian transvestite. All of that insanity comes together to make what would be an otherwise throwaway flick something of a bizarre fascination that needs to be seen at least once, whether you like it or not!  TeddyR
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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2008, 08:50:03 AM »

Anubis hit the nail on the head with Hard Rock Zombies.  That is one big clusterf*ck of a film.  For me its the over the top stuff that tries desperately to distract the viewer that the film plot wise basically...well...sucks. Stuff like excess gore and gratuitous nudity.  Then theres the things within a movie that makes you wonder if the director ever gave a crap.  Bad editing, using stock footage, repeated scenes, endless time killing dialog and suspense scenes.  Theres more that makes a bad movie good but those are the top reasons I can think of off hand. 
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« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2008, 12:37:46 PM »

Brilliant and succinct analyses --
I have no idea if the common thread can be distilled -- if so, I'm not the one to do it.  As I said in another thread, things one despises when taken by themselves can still be found in a movie one loves like no other.
Friends of mine who roar with me over the same parts of "Star Oddysey" leave me baffled and uncomfortable over their devotion to "Equinox".
Ultimately, you have to say it's just like jazz -- only your ears can discerne the sounds that make it good or evil.
Objectivity can carry you to a certain point, but even then not everyone will agree with the assessments of, say, "The Golden Turkey Awards" or "Psychotronic Incredibly Strange Films", the first and still classic attempts to codify and define what makes for enjoyable bad cinema.  If you haven't read these books, I think they're somewhat essential.
peter johnson/denny ed wood
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« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2008, 07:15:38 PM »

I don't think you can make a good "bad" movie. I think they just happen. I believe everyone that makes a movie is making what they believe to be good, and maybe a few directors have said "Hey that's crap ... print it!"

The best "bad" movies are not that good to start with IMHO, they age like wine and then become good over time. Their charm, hokeyness and simplicity are not immediately admired. Plan 9 for example was garbage when it was made, laughable and today it is admired for it's effort. If a movie is simple, cheap with goofy F/X but the makers of the film have a passion for what they are doing and are really trying to do something good it shows through.

There is a real difference between someone who makes a bad film for a fast buck, and someone that makes a bad film because that the best they can do with what they have. I'd rather watch a good "bad" film made with passion and imagination shot in Super 8, than to see some truly crap movie made just to make a buck shot on 70mm THX super duper film.

Real good "bad" films have passion behind them and it shows. They show not only the devotion of the film maker but also the creative required to stretch a shoe string budget. Mighty Gorga, Kiss Me Quick and so many more are examples of this.

Just my thoughts.
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« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2008, 07:17:36 PM »

Is "boobies" too obvious an answer?

Seriously, I would distill the things I value in bad movies down to four strands:

* Unintentional comedy.  Criswell saying "Future events like these will affect you in the future."  A guy scratches his nose with a loaded gun.  Someone bumps into a doorway and the entire set shakes.  Usually funnier than scripted jokes.

*Unintentional surrealism.  This is what Anubis decsribed so well.  That "WTF"? moment.  Usually more bizarre than deliberate surrealism.

*Pandering to our lowest instincts.  Darksider mentioned this with the excessive gore and nudity.  Big budget films are usually sneaky about this, but bad movies are unashamed to exploit our lower natures for their cynical profits, and I appreciate their honesty.

*Meta-movie considerations.  Trying to figure out what the director was thinking.  Was he trying to communicate an idea he thought was important, but failing miserably?  Or is he a hack who just doesn't care?  The former category (like Ed Wood) usually make for the better bad movies.
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« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2008, 10:38:50 PM »

I agree with Cheeze, I really think an awful lot of these directors didn't think they were making bad movies at all and the deadpan serious approach to some of the more ridiculous B-movie content (Giant Anti-matter buzzard?! WTF?!, jet-propelling flying giant space turtle?! Yeah O.K.?!!!) leads to hilarious viewing results oftentimes at least for a percentage of its audience.
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« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2008, 09:21:48 PM »

What I like about them is that most of them aren't "message" films like so much of the crap Hollywood turns out these days. The main point of most of these movies, especially Roger Corman's, is to make a little money. This makes their stories less predictable because the director is more interested in what he thinks will sell than what will win him critical acclaim from other people in Hollywood.
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« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2008, 02:41:04 PM »

For me, the best part is wondering what is going through the mind of the actors or even the director.  Are the actors thinking "This is the part that is gonna make my career" or are they thinking, "God, How did I get myself into this?" This is especially true when they are giving a "Deep emotional" monologue.

As the director sets up his camera in the worse possible play for the most boring shot in the world, does he really think he's being creative or does he just don't give damn as long as he gets paid.

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« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2008, 08:50:40 PM »

Some of my friends from a forum I help moderate are helping me with an article about elements of bad movies.  We're just randomly coming up with aspects of bad movies.

We came up with a few:

*Unintentional humor
*Outlandish dialogue
*The ability to do "Samurai Theater" during a movie - Steven Weber demonstrated this on Wings one time, and it was hysterical (for example, he was watching a movie with slaves on a huge boat, and was singing "Row Row Row Your Boat")
*A co-worker and I both saw William Castle's movie "Mr. Sardonicus," and while the grimace Mr. Sardonicus's face froze in was supposed to be terrifying, we both kept imitating it at work, and cracking each other up.  Again, a good example of unintentional humor.

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« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2008, 03:18:43 AM »

Some of my friends from a forum I help moderate are helping me with an article about elements of bad movies.  We're just randomly coming up with aspects of bad movies.

We came up with a few:

*Unintentional humor
*Outlandish dialogue
*The ability to do "Samurai Theater" during a movie - Steven Weber demonstrated this on Wings one time, and it was hysterical (for example, he was watching a movie with slaves on a huge boat, and was singing "Row Row Row Your Boat")
*A co-worker and I both saw William Castle's movie "Mr. Sardonicus," and while the grimace Mr. Sardonicus's face froze in was supposed to be terrifying, we both kept imitating it at work, and cracking each other up.  Again, a good example of unintentional humor.


OK....now you done it. I'm going to imatate Mr.Sardonicus at work Monday...scary thing is....no one at work will know what the yell I'm doing....or why....
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« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2008, 08:04:38 AM »

Boobies;  Chicks in tight tank tops, falling in water, running in slo-mo. 

I'll sit through pretty much anything as long as it doesn't contain the following:

  • Antagonistic, self-righteous characters
  • Totally irrelevant subplots, thrown in just to kill time
  • Completely flat, uninteresting main character
  • A message
  • Introducing characters in a completely overblown, Rambo-like fashion (Can you say Ghost Ship?)
  • Rap music
  • MTV-style editing
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