Your Idea of a Shitty Movie Sucks

10 May

I may have mentioned before that I was dutifully raised to appreciate crappy efforts. I recall my mother exhorting me to watch Godzilla movies and Robot Monster as far back as seven years old. My home was full of examples of failed literature and art which existed for our familial amusement. Sure, my parents like plenty of high art paintings and classic literature, but when it comes to laffs nothing beats the misplaced effort of an earnest creative type. At least, that’s how I was brought up.

I think that being able to laugh at a movie like Reptilicus is to intimately understand sarcasm and satire. Most comedy sarcasm is obvious, a mere refutation of the facts stated in a droll voice. But to really enjoy a shitty movie, you have to be willing to mock someone’s heartfelt attempt at creativity. This requires a personal investment that is more pointless than having produced the work of art in the first place. So the cycle goes: people churning out claptrap and critics poking fun at their attempts, the publicity of which foments more claptrap. I don’t claim to be a stalwart defender of aesthetic standards and I have no compunction about contributing to the tidal sea of assholes that are everyone’s opinions. I do, after all, have a blog.


Whatever you think you know, however many dues you think you’ve paid, there’s always someone who can do you one better. And if your thing is watching crappy flicks, then I am that person. I’ve seen more poorly-produced, inaudible and haphazardly-written films than the average pop culture weirdo, and there’s a good chance that the movies I’ve seen are way shittier than yours. Oh sure, you saw Plan 9 From Outer Space and thought you’d watched the worst that Hollywood had to offer. You were a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and enjoyed the snarky commentary. But you’re not prepared for shitty movies of this magnitude.


The Corpse Grinders, 1971

They say that once a tiger tastes human flesh, it will hunger for succulent people sandwiches for the rest of its life. Borrowing from this possibly erroneous piece of information is the plot to The Corpse Grinders, a movie about two partners who grind up cadavers to make gourmet cat food. Cats eat the pureed person bits in gravy and become ravenous man-eaters. You can pretty much guess that the offending entrepreneurs will fall into their own corpse-grinding apparatus–which looks like kind of like Calvin’s transmogrification machine–by the end. What you don’t know about is the colorful cast of characters you’ll meet throughout the movie: a slovenly hillbilly gravedigger who looks sort of like a cancerous Johnny Cash, a deaf mute office cleaner whose fake sign language looks like she’s doing the rhumba, and the hapless cat owners who are devoured by their felines as they shuffle through dreary-looking kitchens in their housecoats. The whole movie looks like it was filmed in a kitchen, actually, with a few “outdoor” scenes nicely filmed on a ludicrous sound stage. This film would make a good five minute short, but at an hour and fifteen minutes, only dedicated shlock-watchers need apply.


The Beast of Yucca Flats, 1961

There are Cold War era films that really evoke the paranoia and fear of nuclear annihilation of the time, like Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Day the Earth Stood Still. Then there’s movies which come straight from the gut, unapologetic clusters of hatred and misinformation that make no apologies and offer no commentary. You’ll find such an experience in watching The Beast of Yucca Flats, about a defected Russian scientist played by Tor Johnson (of Plan 9 From Outer Space fame) who gets caught in a nuclear blast and then stumbles around the desert for an hour with his shirt coming off. My favorite thing about this movie is that something clearly went terribly wrong with the sound, and most of the dialogue in this movie is done as voice-overs while the camera fixates on people’s shoes or a distant rock on the horizon. I have never seen the MST3K episode that lampooned this movie, though I wish I had. Watching this movie without running commentary besides your own is a brutal experience.


American Kickboxer 1, 1991

My friend Benito put me on to this movie, he said I would love its shoddy style and that it was the most homoerotic movie he’d ever seen. Now Benito is the kind of guy who thinks that two male actors on screen doing anything but kicking each others’ asses is homoerotic (oh irony), so I figured he was probably exaggerating things. Having seen the film, I can say that it is the most homoerotic film I have ever seen that didn’t actually involve men having sex. The plot is easily forgettable, and I’ve forgotten large portions of it. The story centers around the protagonist B.J. Quinn, a champion kickboxer who is kills some guy in a fit of ‘roid rage, does some time, then comes out of jail to face the new champion Jacques Denard. Could these names be any better? The chemistry between the two of them is intense, as B.J. and Jacques taunt each other mere centimeters from each others’ sweaty faces for so long that even the most homophobic viewer will exclaim, “Just kiss the guy already!” There’s also some kickboxing in the movie, which bores the shit out of me. The title’s confidence is not extreme, since there was a sequel. However, it was not called American Kickboxer 2. I’m sure Jacques ran off with that title in a snit after B.J. refused him a BJ.

2 Responses to “Your Idea of a Shitty Movie Sucks”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Good Lord! *Choke* « Defending Regicide - July 15, 2011

    […] says a lot about my sensibilities and what I like. Horror comics of the 60s and 70s are, like shitty movies: successful in their failures, earnest in their endeavors but falling short of the mark more often […]

  2. More Shitty Movies That Are Great « Defending Regicide - October 11, 2012

    […] shared some of my favorite movies once before, and if you’re so inclined you can check out my prior offerings. But just to recap: I’ve […]

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