A Slice of Fried Gold

The Art of Bad Movie Night

Monday, April 12, 2010
It's hard to get more awesome than a bad movie night. To me, getting together with friends to drink beer, eat food, and make fun of truly bad movies is the apex of fun so long as you pick the right movies and have the right people. It's a sneaky tough recipe to pull off, but this past weekend brought good examples of movies that worked and movies that didn't.

Up first, we had the hit of the night: Hell Comes to Frogtown. Any time you have the opportunity to bring in a movie starring "Rowdy" Roddy Piper for bad movie night, you have to take it. It's science. Check out this synopsis and you'll understand why it is so spectacular:

'Hell' is the name of the hero of the story. He's a prisoner of the women who now run the USA after a nuclear/biological war. Results of the war are that mutants have evolved, and the human race is in danger of extinction due to infertility. Hell is given the task of helping in the rescue of a group of fertile women from the harem of the mutant leader (resembling a frog). Hell cannot escape since he has a bomb attached to his private parts which will detonate if he strays more than a few hundred yards from his guard.
You really can't get much better than that. In fact, when we came across it, my friend Eric was bowled over with the sheer awesomeness that practically left off the DVD cover. An incredible choice from a savvy newcomer, for sure.

The next two movies were not nearly as great, much to our chagrin. Up first we had Murdercycle, and we fully expected this to be unrivaled in its bad movie capabilities. It's a movie...about a motorcycle that comes to life...and murders people...called "murdercycle". Straightforward? Yep. Ridiculous? Absolutely. A terrible choice for bad movie night? Sadly. Even with all of the main characters being named after Marvel Comics creators from the 60's and 70's as well as the aforementioned murdercycleness of the film, it was too modern in its terribleness to bring much fun to the equation. It was bad, but not a lively form of bad.

Meanwhile, the last movie is the one that had the highest expectations from yours truly due to its legendary badness: Manos, the Hands of Fate. In case you've never heard of this movie, it's the 8th worst movie of all time according to IMDB and an all time cult classic. My only concern about it was the fact it came from 1966 and typically the production values are too hard to get past if it is that old...and yep, the seedy film and bad sound really brought down the whole exercise. Sure, the character of Torgo was flat out amazing (I may dress as him for Halloween) and the plot was amusingly non-sensical, but we had to cut and run and move on to the Twilight Rifftrax instead.

So there it is...1 for 3 on the most recent bad movie night. Even with the variable success, it was still a blast filled with great times for all. What did we learn from it? Well, there's the recipe to this very ancient art:
  • The movie must be bad
  • The movie must think it is good
  • The basic concept must be able to be described as "absurd", "ludicrous" or "bizarre"
  • Preferably Horror or Sci-Fi
  • Preferably between the years of 1975 and 1995
There are exceptions to the rule (anything by Uwe Boll save Postal works like a charm), but generally speaking movies that fall into those five categories should be a success for a bad movie night. This is why, in my mind, Sleepaway Camp is the best bad movie ever. It kills all five of those categories and has maybe the most ridiculous base concept ever. Throw in the best ending that has ever happened to the cinemas of the world, and that movie should be studied in "The Art of the Bad Movie" classes for the rest of the world's days.

What's that? That class doesn't exist? I should totally teach that class.

Still, I'm always out for suggestions. If any of my readers have bad movie suggestions that fit those categories, please share. I'm always on the prowl for the next Sleepaway Camp.


Troy Olson said...

Oh, I wish I could have saved you the trouble witn MANOS. The only, and I mean, ONLY, reason it is rated where it is on the IMDB list is due to the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of it. It's just such a horribly boring movie that it's hard to sit through without Joel and the Bots making fun of it. So I concur with you there.

I think I saw the Piper film back on TV when I was younger (back when USA used to play "Up All Night" and show bad movies all night -- it rocked). I remember it being pretty fun.

Your recipe seems pretty solid to me. The modern day "bad" movies just don't have that grimy touch, do they? All shot on DV and with CGI and stuff, it just doesn't work. Well, except for THE ROOM, of course.

Glad you did the TWILIGHT Rifftrax too. I just watched that one myself and thought it was pretty funny...my biggest fear in life is that my daughter will one day want to watch crap like that. I have some work ahead of me.

Oh, and I can't remember, but have you done TROLL 2 for this yet? If not, I implore you to do TROLL 2...pure cheese greatness.

David Harper said...

I have NOT done Troll 2 yet. I actually had it in my hands when we were picking these and it was nixed.

That was really major concern about Manos - I figured it would be so old it would be really, really boring and awkward. Sure enough, it was.

I still haven't seen The Room (I can never find it!), so next time it's going to be The Room and Troll 2. But recent movies are just missing that...spontaneity and sheer ridiculousness factor. Filmmakers these days are too self aware of their own badness I feel these days.

I just started getting into Rifftrax - I'm really excited for Red Dawn with Corbett and Joel McHale. How could that not be awesome? I've never actually seen Red Dawn before, so I may need to watch it for myself before that.

Troy Olson said...


TROLL 2 and THE ROOM are both hilarious, I'd say even better when Rifftrax'ed, but by no means necessary. I watched the RED DAWN rifftrax and it warmed my heart to know Joel McHale was a fan of Mike's, as I tend to have unhealthy mancrushes on both of them.

I've seen plenty of movies Rifftrax'ed without seeing them "normally" first. In most cases, just skip the normal and go straight to the riffing.

I'll send you an email shortly...I can get you the things you need.

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