The World O' Crap Archive

Welcome to the Collected World O' Crap, a comprehensive library of posts from the original Salon Blog, and our successor site, (2006 to 2010).

Current posts can be found here.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It's Customer Appreciation Day!

Today I would like to tell you a heartwarming, life-affirming story about a couple of mismatched ragtag writers from the mean streets who took one last chance on their dream, and how, through the kindness of bloggers, blog readers, MST fans, and other assorted weirdoes, their dream paid off, meaning that some people bought copies of their book.  Yes, it’s the feel good hit of the summer, in that, thanks to you, I didn’t lose my life saving publishing this book, and so the kitties get fed for at least the rest of the month.

Seriously, Scott and I wish to thank those of you who have purchased our book, Better Living Through Bad Movies.  We are honored and touched by your faith in us, and in your kind words about our work.  We love you guys!  

So, to thank you and to cater to your obvious interest in bad cinema we are proposing a little exercise in masochism: you suggest movies for the Better Living treatment, and Scott and I promise to both watch AND summarize the top two vote-getters.  We will also try to derive some heartwarming, life-affirming, feel-good lessons from them, if we survive the experience. 

So, come on, it’s payback time, and this time it’s personal!  (But remember, Scott and I have only two days left to retirement, so we’re undoubtedly doomed, DOOMED! Not to mention, mad I tell you, MAD!)

So, we put our fates in your hands. P.S.  Werewolf in a Girls’ Dormitory was the last movie I watched, which tells you a little too much about me. But I did it all for YOU, and someday I will give you my report on this film.  And then the tables will be turned, Mr. Bond!

I didn’t buy the book because you guys are cool, you know. Sunday Cinema pretty well sold it.
And you already did my pick–Zardoz. In light of this, I feel it would be immoral to ask you to review “Mansquito” or any other Sci Fi Channel flick.
I’m sorry I haven’t had a chance to get your book yet. (This month, I promise!) Did you happen to review Galaxina?
That’s been one of my all time favorite camp movies since childhood. Perfectly awful. Perfectly. Awful.
here’s the link
*note to self: be more careful when posting late friday afternoon.
If you’re interested in a relatively new release (2005) that’s truly awful, I recommend “The Mangler Reborn.”
The original “Mangler” cracked me up, and it reminded me of “Graveyard Shift” for its hokey awefulness. But this third installment, like CHUD 2, couldn’t hold a bloody axe to the original.
Another groaner, this one with a much higher profile, was the truly awful “House of the Dead.” Director Uwe Ball figured it would be an interesting conceit to splice low-res images from the video game into his movie. Mix in the zombie-related deaths of a few nubile teen girls, and you have yourself one of the worst, most predictable zombie flicks ever made. Ever.
Other recommendations include Tower of Evil (1972), White Noise (2005), Darkness (2002), Home Fries (1998), Deepstar Six (1989), The Guardian (1990), and Darkness Falls (2003).
I love bad movies: many of the ones panned hardest by critics are among my favorites. The ones listed above, however, are NOT GOOD. They’re bad – irretrievably so. They’re not among my favorites.
You’ve been warned.
Some friends and I picked a movie out of the “Weird” bin last weekend because, well, you know why. Anyway, it was called (drum roll) “The Curious Dr. Humpp.” Argentinian Horror Porn. Probably the worst movie I have ever seen. I’m afraid even your significant satirical talents are no match for this one.
I bought the book for myself for my birthday recently. I love it!
Back in the 70s when I was a teenager (yeah, I’m old) living in Joisy, we used to watch Creature Feature regularly. The best/worst movie ever was a flick called Octaman. A typical half man/half octupus guys created by a bolt of radiation. Or something like that. The best scene was when they surrounded Octaman by a ring of fire about a foot high an one of the science dudes declares, “the fire will burn up all the oxygen around him and he’ll suffocate.” Sure enough, a few seconds later Octaman falls over in an oxygen-deprived stupor.
Can somebody tell me why I can remember bad movies with totally clarity, but can never remember where I put my keys?
Just got the book today!
And I vote for NUKIE. Here’s a picture of the adorable chap, just so you know who you will be spending 90 minutes of your life with.
The Crawling Eye was always a favorite in the Mint household.
I vote for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. ’nuff said.
Actually, I watched Octaman when we were writing the book, and it did seem absurdly promising, starring as it did such veteran cheesemakers as Jeff Morrow (The Giant Claw) and Kerwin Matthews. It also featured the lovely Italian actress and and frequent James Dean beard Pier Angeli, who died of a drug overdose during the production. And even though it’s a painfully obscure title (even by our standards) it did have some historical (or at least trivia-related) value, since Rick Baker worked on the Octopus Man suit (and it may have represented his first onscreen effort).
Unfortunately, when I was finally able to locate a crappy old VHS copy in a now closed video store in Hollywood, the print was so dark, I couldn’t tell what the hell was supposed to be happening. Long stretches of the film were just a black screen, with muffled shouting voices in the background. (Shades of The Castle of Fu Manchu.)
I’d be interested to see a clean print of this struck from halfway decent elements, because I’m a masochist, but I have a feeling Octaman probably isn’t keeping the film restoration experts working around the clock at Criterion.
Mores the pity.
Rick Baker worked on the Octopus Man suit (and it may have represented his first onscreen effort).
IIRC, Schlock was his first effort
Exorcist II.
Pazuzu. Blinking headlights on Nurse Ratched. Duh gud lokosts and duh bod lokosts. Burton wearing the same safari jacket for weeks. Burton drunk the whole time. The wild disco night in the Sufi cave at the top of the 1000 foot cliff.
Oh, and Better Living Through Bad Movies? Best and funniest movie book evah!
OK, everybody’s nominating sci-fi/horror/fantasy crap, and, indeed, there’s is a bountiful supply of it out there. But, just to be contrarian, I’m gonna go with an ’80s exploitation flick: Vice Squad. It stars Season Hubley as “Princess,” a whore; Gary Swanson as a cop on the titular vice squad; and Wings hauser as a psychopathic pimp named “Ramrod.” No, really.
The plot is split between Princess’ odd encounters during a typical evening of prostitution, and the cop trying to locate her before the extremely violent pimp does, as she’s the only witness to a crime Ramrod commited. It has utterly no socially redeeming value whatsoever. It does have some classically hilarious dialogue, however, such as…

Lowlife arrested at a nightclub by undercover black female cop: “You ain’t black. You shit color!”
Two underaged prostitutes at the precinct upon being called ‘whores”: “We ain’t no whores, Officer Honkey–we’re prostitutes! Whores give it away!”
Jeffery, a fuh-laming queen, tries to explain a wee bit of frottage: “Honestly, Officer, I did not grope that man! I was merely trying to brush the ashes off his pants!”
Female cop: “Jeffery? Jeffery, sweetie? That’s the same excuse you used last week.”
Jeffery: Shit! Well, you can’t blame a girl for trying!”

Oh, yes. Vice Squad was recently released on DVD, so no murky print for you.
I am a very bad person.
I finally got the time to finish Better Living Through Bad Movies, and I haven’t written a review for our wildly popular (we have TWELVE readers now!) Bullshit-Filler-Between-Stuff-That-Matters-But-Will-Soon-Be-Pushed-Off-The-Page-By-More-SEX-and-or-RELIGION-posts blog, but trust me, I really am working on it.
And I might’ve sprained a few things in the process.
So I hope that you enjoy it at least 1/6th as much as I enjoyed the book.
Now, despite my lame-as-fuck excuses and lack of a blog-plug (not too different from a butt-plug, but comes with its own lubricant!) I’d like to submit two movies:
First and foremost: Flesh Gordon
(And no, I still don’t know the html to do the linky thing without the blogger buttons)

And secondly:
And I’m probably committing some horrible faux pas because I’m having minute flashbacks of a movie with a similar plot, but I don’t think that this particular hackneyed dweebfest was actually IN the book. So, with fingers crossed and brain cells dying as we speak, I bid you all adieu for now, and hope for tomorrow…
(Oh, vomit, did I really SAY that?!?!? I have GOT to get some fucking SLEEP!!!)
:::lights a cigarette:::
Simoultaneous postus uninterruptus, Marq.
Was it good for you, too?
:::passes the JD:::
IIRC, Schlock was his first effort
And if I were him, I’d be telling people the same thing. Alas for Rick, Octaman beat Schlock to the drive-ins and grindhouses by a good two years.
There might be some pretty good chapter possibilities under the heading “The worst movies ever made from books” – that’s an endless category.
Oh – wait. That would narrow the audience down to people who’d read the book AND seen the movie.
I knew there was a reason I’m not in marketing…
I am happy to report that MST3K Volume 10 will include the delicious “Godzilla vs Megalon” and “The Giant Spider Invasion.”
It remains a crime against humanity that “The Giant Claw” is still unreleased on DVD. I’m tempted to make a torrent of my old VHS version.
If you want something a little different, nail some old serials. Both “Batman” and “Batman & Robin” are now available on DVD; “Batman” is loaded with horrifying (and uncensored!) WWII anti-Japanese racism, and both are hilariously bad. “The Adventures Of Captain Marvel,” on the other hand, is well done cheese, arguably the best of the serials. “Captain America” just ****ing HURTS.
More recent: Naomi Watts in “The Shaft.” It’s about a killer elevator. Seriously.
And it’s actually a REMAKE. Based on the German film, known around here as “The Lift.” It was supposed to be released in 2001 under the crap title “Down,” but…well, something happened to make the subplot about terrorist attacks on skyscrapers a little too hot to handle.
So there’s actually a sort of historical significance to it. Woof.
“Snakes On A Plane?” Psh. Find “Venom.” Not the recent zombie movie, but the crime drama with Klaus Kinski, Oliver Reed, Nicol Williamson, Sterling Hayden, thirty other accents, and a Black Mamba. Howler. And the scene with the pant leg? Brrr.
I think it’s time to return to the classics, in the way that jazz masters play My Favorite Things or Over the Rainbow, so I vote Roadhouse or They Live.
How about a couple of completely awful films based on the horror that nature can inspire? I am, of course, referring to Squirm (killer nightcrawlers!) and… Aw, crud, I can’t remember the name of the other one. It was about killer frogs. I think it was called ‘Croak’ or something like that.
I am waiting with bated breath for my copy of BLTBM, which I ordered last Friday. Yay!
Ooh! The Giant Claw! I think we did a “rent and riff” on that one a while back and it was comedy gold!
Roadhouse–also a great suggestiong!
I think MST3K did Squirm during it’s SciFi Channel seasons, didn’t they?
There’s always Ice Pirates. That deserves so much scorn.
Mind, the Science Fiction Channel showed something from 2001 called Tail Wind. Scorpions on a plane!
Man, did that suck. The lamest possible moment: A guy who’s been studying the fucking scorpions for years in the genetics lab actually refers to the damned things as “insects”. I almost couldn’t watch the rest of it.
But there’s also Hammerhead, Frankenfish, The Snakehead Terror… The SFC has a lot to answer for.
Or you could pick a Carnosaur, any Carnosaur, or even give Leviathan or Deep Rising a run.
Does it bother anybody that the SFC actually *runs* Squirm in all earnestness?
OK, this one ain’t exactly sci-fi as such, but does have a supporting role for Ray Walston. He was, after all, the Martian in “My Favorite Martian” so not too shabby.
It’s “Kiss Me, Stupid” directed by Billy Wilder with a screenplay by I.A.L. Diamond, and it’s unwatchable by any standards, even through the lens of lowered expectations we’ve come to embrace through BLTBM. Kim Novak & Dean Martin are the main star vehicles here, but you would’t know it.
Was hired to review this film for a retrospective on Wilder—I could only stand it for 40 minutes. Later discovered that Wilder had disowned the thing entirely. Still, hold Wilder with very high regard and as a result aborted assignment.
So, if you dare, go for it.
Sci-Fi is too easy.
Please have a go at that homage to pedophilia, Blame It On Rio. Michael Caine, Joe Bologna, Demi Moore and, the worst actress ever, Michelle Johnson.
Greetings, former rebellious subjects!
I would like to second the nomination for Nukie. I am certain he and his brother will win a place in your hearts as much as they did mine. My only regret is that I did not knight them.
Queen E

I loved the book!!! May I suggest “The Violent Years” (1956).

Teen girls turn to crime, like messing up the classroom at their high school. But it gets better.
Tagline is: “So what.”
I might be presumptious,but I don’t think sz and sc are going to attempt to do anything MST3K already did (and did hilariously, I might add).
Just to clarify: no need to confine your suggestions to sci-fi, horror, or like genres. We’ll suffer through anything if it’s bad enough.
s.z. and I have a long-standing pact, however, not to do any movies that appeared on Mystery Science Theater 3000, so that would unfortunately disqualify The Violent Years, which is a shame, because it’s the best treatment I’ve ever seen of that age old theme of the self-impregnating teen rapist who does a little sub-contracting on the side for a certain International Communist Conspiracy that shall remain nameless.
I realize there were issues of taxation and representation in the mix, but I’ve long though that the principle cause of the American Revolution was the near-constant blogwhoring by British royalty.
Now I’m sure of it.
Your book made me laugh like a gassed hyena.
Vol. 2 absolutely has to include your review of Zardoz, which made me fall off the sofa.
Vol. 2 should also include DeLaurentis’ mangling of “Dune.” About a dozen of my friends and I saw that when it first opened, at a special premiere in a multiplex. One by one, they all snuck out and went down the hall to see Terminator instead. There were maybe 3 of my group left by the end, and that was mostly because we felt bad for Jose Ferrer, who was a Special Guest at the Special Premiere.
Actually, you could do a whole section on DeLaurentis, who’s almost legendary for making godawful movies.
In non-SF movies, “Lady Caroline Lamb” (1972) managed to take one of the most interesting scandalous ladies ever (she had affairs with Lord George Byron and the Duke of Wellington), and an excellent cast (Richard Chamberlain as Byron, Laurence Olivier as Wellington, and Sarah Miles as Lady Caroline) and combine them into a ponderous, boring, dull thud of a movie.
Also: The Virgin and the Gypsy, a pretentious, self-consciously arty movie about Forbidden Lust, Class Disinctions, and Prophecies of Doom. It has the least erotic sex scenes ever – no mean feat when the lovers are the young and scrumptious Franco Nero and Joanna Shimkis.
Ditto on the next book with Zardoz–the whole ScreamingSantaHead thing had me ROFLOLWTFDMF
The original Wicker Man movie. This is a cult classic so I had high hopes for it. It’s packed to the gills with dorky English hippies and really not very scary at all.
Skidoo (1968), please, one of many examples of the kind of movie that resulted from squaresville studios’ desperate attempts to reach out to those crazy kids with their flower power and their beads and their left-handed cigarettes and their, uh, whole bag, man. Paramount, hang down your head.
Mr Freeze (Otto Preminger) directing Ralph Kramden, John Phillip Law, Frankie Avalon, the withered Carol Channing, the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, and Groucho Marx, who seem to be giving their all for a story none of them can make head or tail of.
High points:
* Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason) on acid, hallucinating Groucho Marx, who appears to him in the form of Screwy, the Screw Sprite.
* An aging Carol Channing seducing Frankie Avalon with a shameless bump ‘n’ grind routine that’s enough to make you claw your own eyes out.
* John Phillip Law’s hippie schtick.
Incidentally, I work on the Paramount Studio lot (greetings from, and hooray for, Hollywood), where each soundstage carries a plaque proudly identifying which memorable productions were shot there.
That’s funny, there’s no mention of Skidoo anywhere. Huh.
…or, alternatively, Skyscraper (1997), Anna Nicole Smith in a low-rent Die-Hard ripoff. The sound of her voice is like fingernails on a blackboard. Bad movie. Very, vey bad movie.
Vosburg — I don’t know the name of the abomination, but there was an Anna Nicole soft-core “fantasy” flick on Showtime the other night (VERY late), as I was flipping channels — while I do earnestly hope that S.Z. & Scott will take Flesh Gordon to task sooner, if they indeed do ANY “erotic” (like a barbed-wire pap smear) flix, don’tcha think that any movie NARRATED by Anna Nicole is automatically rendered priceless to those of us who love nightmarishly bad films?
I think that she deserves her own award — Best Fiscal Use Of Cheap Silicone By A Lesbian Stripper.
The ceremony would undoubtedly be funnier than Conan & the Emmys.
A good 3 to 5 minutes of Flesh Gordon was recently featured on a “from the vaults”-type clip show on Danish television. I laughed, I cried, I clenched my colon. But perhaps, rather than the (supposedly) erotic spoof, some original Flash Gordon would have even more potential (can’t remember if it’s been on MST3K)?

That aside, how about the astoundingly pretentious pile of hot steaming feces that is Crow, or, even better/worse, depending on your perspective, one of the sequels? Has some sage advice on coping with loss, I’m sure.
Or, if you’re up to a challenge, there’s the delightfully mazourka-infested epic, Hercules in New York, which also happens to be the movie debut (apart from the Pumping Iron-doc) of a certain Californian senator. Or the Jesse Ventura biopic, the name of which currently escapes me.
pro senator lege governor, of course.
Hercules in New York, which also happens to be the movie debut (apart from the Pumping Iron-doc) of a certain Californian senator.
AKA The Governator Formerly Known As Arnold Strong and not much of an English-speaker; all his dialog was dubbed in. Hilarious, includes the famous line “Zeus is all the time nagging me!”
Or, if you’re up to a challenge, there’s the delightfully mazourka-infested epic, Hercules in New York
I’m not sure we were up to the challenge, but we have gone down that dark road once before…
I saw it once, MANY years ago, (yeah, I’m an old f*art too) and it STILL makes me cringe: The Ed D. Woods epic Glen or Glenda. If you’ve ever wanted to wax rhapsodic over a cashmere sweater this is the movie for you. Unspeakably dreadful.
(Sorry it’s not a hot link… don’t know how to pull that off…)

Ooh, I totally second Captain America, or if not the first one then its sequel (which I have not seen but sounds equally wretched). There’s a weird, pointless (to me) scene where Captain America carjacks some poor schmoe, and to this day I want to form a band just to name it Captain America Stole my Truck.
Or The Barbarians. Shudder.
This one’s found in our local indie video store under “So Bad It’s Good (Sorry, No Refunds)”

My second choice would be “The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik Yak” (1984), also known as “Gwendoline”. It was, IIRC, quite awful, but like a bad car wreck, you just cannot look away.
I’m not sure we were up to the challenge
You were, you totally were. I should have known.
Oh well, there’s still Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura. To quote the imdb featured comment:
0 out of 2 people found the following comment useful:
Great movie!!!, 1 June 1999

Author: anonymous
I thought the story of Jesse Ventura was very positive regardless of the negative reviews. What made this story disinteresting to the public was a lack of sex and violence, which is what most reviewers want to see.
“Seven,” or as people who are trying to be hip call it, “Se[Arabic numeral seven]en.” I fucking hate that movie. What a vile, adolescent, pretentious, shallow, lazy, predictable, puerile piece of shit that is. A more noxious example of cynical corporate product masquerading as cynical teenage nihilism can hardly be imagined, unless you’re imagining “Fight Club,” the basic premise of which alone was so idiotic and obnoxious that its appeal to emotionally retarded dateless wonders trying to appear cool and worldly was virtually assured. David Fincher, bite me.
I dunno, “Seven” scared the shit out of me when I saw it in the theatre. Of course, I was sitting next to a musician at the time, so that probably contributed.
Aside from Kevin Spacey’s gnawing-the-scenery-like-a-guinea-pig-on-meth “acting,” the only real objection that I had to it was that THEY SHOULDA KILLED BRAD PITT!!!!!!
I’m still pulling for “Flesh Gordon,” dammit.
So to speak.
(Insert Bill S. joke here.)
Bistroist writes: But perhaps, rather than the (supposedly) erotic spoof, some original Flash Gordon would have even more potential (can’t remember if it’s been on MST3K)?
I dunno, Bis, the Flash Gordon serials showed a lot of nifty special effects and a sort of earnestness that make them hard to poke too much fun at. I don’t think of them as bad by any means, and regard the goofy stuff as sort of endearing.
Like the fact that whenever any non-terrestrial addresses Flash, despite his having introduced himself as “Flash Gordon,” they never call him anything but “Earthman”– to his face, for heaven’s sake, and even when expressing admiration.
And then there was the time Flash returned fire on a pursuing spacecraft– in space, mind you– by opening the nearest porthole of his spaceship, poking out a .45, and squeezing off a few rounds at ‘em.
Or the time a video-call to the Mongo retreat of Ming the Merciless was answered by one of Ming’s minions, “Ming’s Palace,” in a pitch-perfect imitation of a cashier answering a restaurant phone.
I could go on and on.
David Fincher is to Michael Bay as Brian dePalma is to Steven Spielberg.
I agree that they should have killed Brad Pitt. (Not “David Mills,” mind you.)
Morgan Freeman needs a new agent.
The only positive thing “Seven” has contributed to our culture is the MTV Awards (?) thing where Shatner as T.J. Hooker found his own head in a box singing “Mr. Tambourine Man.” And given that I have to live the rest of my life with the mental image of a woman being murdered by being brutally raped with a giant serrated blade used as a strap-on dildo, complete with “subliminal” flashes that I was unwise enough to pause the DVD to check out, I think this is a net loss. At least “Hostel” isn’t pretending to be a Significant Statement. Torture porn swanning about as “edgy” “art” in the name of pulling more corporate profits from the pockets of alienated teenagers (plus desensitizing them to violence, the better to feed the war machine) — how “hip”!
Plus, anyone who didn’t know what was in that box as soon as they saw it … is probably surprised by M. Night Shyamalan endings, too. And the chick in “The Crying Game” is obviously a guy. Come on, people!
“Hercules in New York” would indeed be an excellent pick. Per IMBd its release preceeds “Pumping Iron” by seven years. On completion of the pic, they were so concerned that Arnold’s accent was unintelligible that they dubbed another actor’s voice over his. The original soundtrack has now been restored for re-release on DVD (with extras, dammit, extras!); I found my copy in the bargain bin at Wal-Mart. Also notable for the appearance of Arnold Stang as Herc’s sidekick, an actor who did decades of network TV and cartoon voicework and became particularly known as a spokesman for Chunky candy bars, delivering the immortal line, “What a chunk a’ chocolate!” The action alternates between Mount Olympus (where bedsheet togas and cotton-candy beards are de rigueur, and cardboard lightning bolts fly with abandon) and the scenes and streets of Manhattan, where we marvel as Hercules maneuvers his chariot with demi-godlike skill through rush hour traffic, and humiliates some unsuspecting toughs in a city park during a pickup version of the Olympics.
Either that, or “Teenage Hellcats” which is so obscure I can’t even Google it up . . .

Well, as a regular at the early Rent and Riffs, I feel obliged to throw out “Graffiti Bridge” and “KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park,” or Scott would have to go around thinking something was missing in his life – but what?
Other than that, I’ve gotta nominate “Raising Helen,” starring Kate Hudson as a lovable free spirit who suddenly finds herself with custody of her sensible sister’s three adorable children when sensible sister and husband are suddenly killed. Despite these sensible people’s having committed their wishes regarding their children’s guardianship (without mentioning it to prospective guardian, hence wackiness), they apparently never saved any money, contributed to Social Security or got life insurance, so even more wackiness can ensue as they attempt to survive on Kate’s dime. And since there are almost no issues to explore about, you know, three kids having LOST THEIR FUCKING PARENTS, that still leaves time for plenty of subplot about whether or not Katie will date the super-cute guy who helps her out, even though he’s a pastor or some damn thing. Sole redeeming factor: Joan Cusack. Poor, poor Joan Cusack.
Okay, in the interests of esprit de corps, Customer Service, Rent ‘n Riff Alumni solidarity, and self-flagellation, I went to Netflix and queried KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park. They don’t have it. I checked Amazon. It’s not available.
To paraphase Lord Peter Wimsey, I have not run like a scalded cat from the first whiff of grapeshot; rather, I have received the order to retreat, and can march out with all the honors of war.
On a somewhat grimmer note, Amazon has both Graffiti Bridge and Under the Cherry Moon. And for some reason, Amazon insisted that if I was interested in the Prince oeuvre, then I’d be sure to enjoy Mrs. Soffel.
…the HELL?

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