Best of Bad (Movies, That is)
Enough already with awards shows, with outstanding actors and best pictures. We’ve seen the good stuff. It’s time to turn to the Web, where critics who celebrate schlock, junk, and just plain bad (sometimes deliciously bad) moviemaking thrive, like mutant, hyperintelligent ants bent on con- quering the world. While B-movie tastes differ — Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster or The Toxic Avenger Part III? — the passionate agree the stuff is fun. ”You have to respect movies whose ambitions far exceed their possibilities, made for $1.98 with six different kinds of bad acting,” says Freeman Williams (a.k.a. Dr. Freex), who runs the Bad Movie Report (badmoviereport.com). After a year packed with Hollow Man and Battlefield Earth, bad-movie sites have no interest in little gold statues. We rate the temples of shoddy cinema, and, of course, most of them get a B.
The Bad Movie Review Website (badmovies.org) Hundreds of literate, evenhanded, and heartfelt reviews — from Abraxas: Guardian of the Universe (1991, featuring Jesse Ventura) to The Giant Claw (1957). The current fave of Marine Staff Sgt. Andrew Borntreger, the site’s creator: Starcrash, in which David Hasselhoff fights stop-motion robots with a lightsaber. Says the sarge: ”It’s the worst Star Wars rip-off you’ll ever see.” B+
Stomp Tokyo (stomptokyo.com) Not content with yet another treatise on (yawn) Plan 9 From Outer Space, this review megasite seeks out exotic bad movies. A surreal remake of Superman from India? Heroic. Devil Hunter Yohko 5? Not as good as the first one. There should be an awards show for this stuff. B
Terriblemovies.com (terrible movies.com) Fiercely dedicated to the modern era (read: ’80s horror flicks), this site champions the lifestyle of bad movies. Which is to say, the lifestyle of a bunch of guys sitting around watching C.H.U.D. II and Ghoulies III and then maybe one of the Leprechaun movies. Every night. B
The Astounding B Monster (bmonster.com) The best online journalism devoted to camp, monster, and cult movies, this clean-cut e-zine interviews close to 50 stars of the ’50s and ’60s golden era — Ben Chapman (the creature from Creature From the Black Lagoon) and Beverly Garland (It Conquered the World, Swamp Women, etc.) among them. Surprisingly, says site editor Marty Baumann, ”a lot of them are in the phone book, and they’re just home watching TV.” B+