The Bad or Unwatchable Movie Society

The arrival and subsequent tanking of InAPPropriate (for a full list of everything wrong with this movie, I recommend you check out this page. You will feel something dark in your soul)  has got me thinking about bad movies – and there are a lot of bad movies. Some, like Gigli, Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 and Citizen Kane should forever be consigned to the dustbin of history. Hollywood has a high turnover of movies every year, with no signs of slowing down, and it’s merely in keeping with Sturgeon’s Law that most of those should be crap. After all, not everything can be a box office smash. I am content to ignore these. Some films are sort of bad, like the Troma films, but are either hilarious/well-crafted or contain at least a spark of genius.
Some, however, are so bad they transcend bad and become good, coming back in at the other end of the scale in a bizarre example of how bad and good are not fixed points. I have an idea for a rival institute to the AFI, called the Bad or Unwatchable Movie Society, which exists to preserve great movies. You know how, even though we’ve eradicated Smallpox, there’s still a couple of samples in deep freeze in government laboratories? That. In my head there’s a long, low, bunker-like structure, a bit like the storage room at the end of the Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s made of reinforced titanium and concrete and guarded by UN troops around the clock. Here we will store the very worst films of all time – films so bad that they are poisonous to society. We need to preserve them for future scholars and alien archaeologists so that they can see, at a glance, the dark side of an industry that gave us Casablanca, The Third Man, Apocalypse Now and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Here these movies will rest for all time, weathering the shift of the continents and the ravages of war, disease and the destruction of mankind. In millions of years, when all that’s left of man is a plaque on the moon with Richard Nixon’s name on it and the eroded faces at Mount Rushmore, this bunker will exist – preserving the dark side of our cultural heritage. We can call it the BUM bunker. Or the BUMKER. I didn’t have to think hard about that pun.
Here are a few movies I think deserve to be kept on account of their sheer, aching celluloid terror.
Freddy Got Fingered (2001)
I’ve already mentioned Freddy Got Fingered where I regarded it as a supreme example of Dadaist comedy. It was pointed out to me by a helpful follower that Roger Ebert said basically the same thing (although he hated it), and because I respect Ebert’s opinion I’m sticking to my story. Freddy Got Fingered is a masterpiece. A sick masterpiece. A masterpiece of sick. If one bad film deserves to exist for all eternity, it’s this one. I cannot recommend this movie. I can’t say you should watch it. My heart won’t allow it. But I think, on the strength of how truly terrible, how monstrously unfunny and tasteless it is, it should be preserved. Maybe in metre-thick perspex, sealing it in and sealing people out.
This film didn’t deserve to live, and now it exists I haven’t the heart to kill it. And I’ll tell you why – it’s the same reason Frankenstein’s monster can be regarded as sympathetic figure. Yes, he’s a monster, but he has a heart of gold. You can’t kill something hideously ugly that looks at you with wounded puppy eyes. It would be like trying to smother The Elephant Man.
Anyway. If I was to make a supremely awful “comedy” it would look like this, which is why I don’t write comedy. Tom Greene touches a horses penis, there’s a paraplegic nymphomaniac and Rip Torn is in this movie, which is just insane. I give it 5 Stars. Nobody else does.  They shouldn’t.
Robot Monster (1953)
The B-Movie that killed B-movies the year my dad was born. A gorilla with a space helmet and very little intelligence has killed all of mankind with a crappy death ray that eight humans are somehow immune to (for the record, being “immunized” to a death ray is sort of like being immunized to bullets). Robot Monster must kill them individually by throwing them off things. Then at some point he falls in love with one of them, at which point the Great Guidance, with whom the Robot Monster has been communicating with via a bubble machine (I swear! I’m not making this up) appears and unleashes dinosaurs and earthquakes.
Oh, you know what, here’s Mystery Science Theater 3000.
The Room (2003)
Tommy Wiseau (who he?) wanted to make a romantic comedy film out of a book he couldn’t get published, which is sort of like if you made a banana-and-fishpaste salad for lunch and nobody wanted to eat it, so you made a three-course dinner out of it. The Room is the only example on this list of a truly unwatchable film – and I mean that in a literal sense. You can’t watch it. You can just look at it with this weird sort of expression on your face. This expression:
It doesn’t make sense. Characters appear with subplots that never happen. A woman has breast cancer and nobody cares. A relationship falls apart and Tommy Wiseau tries to kill a guy, then they’re friends again. Tommy Wiseau channels a serial killer:
If this film was played backwards and cut out of sequence like Memento it would make more sense. This movie is so bad it gave me a headache. In university I tried to pitch this idea for a movie to the local student film group about a man who gets followed across town by a box with a smiley face on it. MY MOVIE MAKES MORE SENSE THAN THE ROOM.
Troll 2 (1990)
Monster A Go Go (1965)
Frank Douglas is an astronaut – OR IS HE? He parachutes into the North Atlantic – OR DOES HE? He gets turned into a monster – OR DOES HE? Fuck knows, because according to the narrator at the end, THERE WAS NO MONSTER. So spin on that.
Movie 43 (2013)
Here’s a great idea for a movie, okay? Settle into your chair and hear me out. Some of the biggest names on hollywood act out bizarre vignettes as they come into the head of a scriptwriter trying to get picked up. It’s a clever premise, right? You get a whole bunch of big names, opportunity to do a bunch of clever short pieces, see some people doing stuff they’re not normally associated with (Halle Berry doing comedy, for example), and it’ll be a laugh riot, bring back vignette cinema and revitalize the careers of some big-named stars who take themselves too seriously. Right?
Yeah, in theory. Or you could fuck it up and make this movie.
I cannot wait for this DVD so I can not buy it and not recommend it to my friends.

9 responses to “The Bad or Unwatchable Movie Society

  1. I give you credit for even being able to single out the ones that you have because the choices are vast and that’s just for Hollywood. If you ever do a post on bad movies globally, let me know a few days in advance so I can prepare our psyche.

  2. Freddy Got Fingered is out there, calling me to watch it. I have resisted. The years pass, and I resist still. One day, I will cave. But not today.

    • It was the very same irresistable compulsion that made me sit down and watch it. I don’t regret it. It’s like David Lynch’s Eraserhead – once you’ve heard of it, you can’t escape. Give in. Giiiiveeeee iiiiiiiinnnn

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