Still funding
7% funded
30 backers

The Beginner’s Guide To Great Bad Movies

Have you ever been faced with five minutes of Chuck Norris in impossibly tight jeans putting down a bad guy with a terrible quip and roundhouse kick? Wondered just how the writers justified the plot holes in a Star Wars knock-off starring Oscar winner Christopher Plummer and David Hasselhoff? Marvelled at the unearned confidence with which a director cuts between Steven Seagal in a kimono and his much thinner stunt double? The film sections of bookshops are laden with admiring treatises on the French New Wave, American cinema of the 1970s and Kubrick’s oeuvre.

This isn’t that kind of book.

Instead, it’s 50 funny essays on the most outrageous, bizarre and objectively dreadful offerings the movie industry written by someone with warmth and passion for the genre. It’s a celebration of the modern B-movie, a realm of Hollywood that everyone likes to pretend doesn’t exist. We love these movies, however bad we are told they are supposed to be and we think you will too.

With sections including ‘Cyborgs’, ‘Blade almost-Runners’, ‘Terrible actors who can fight good’, ‘Giant critters’ and ‘Human spliced with animal of some kind’, this is a book that gets to the heart of why these movies are just so damn watchable.

You’ll understand why a gleaming codpiece is so essential to the schlock sci-fi genre thanks to Star Crash, examine the fascinating science behind inter-android copulation because of T-Force and understand the algorithms of casting sequels to franchises no-one ever wanted.

Along the way there are on-set anecdotes and incredulous production stories from the very people who make and star in these gloriously awful entries in the canon of moving pictures.

If nothing else, you’ll be convinced of why Venice would be way more fun as a holiday destination if it had sharks.

Ben is an author and freelance journalist, who’s written about forgotten King Kong sequels for Yahoo Movies and tracked down the star of The Golden Child for Empire magazine, as well as written books about Robert Downey Jr. and entertainment journalism.
Even though he's talked to lots of A-list movie stars, his favourite celebrity interviews have been Vernon Wells, aka the baddie in Commando, the director of Hawk the Slayer and the guy who played Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar.
Unlike Steven Spielberg, he was a famously terrible child filmmaker – the creative force behind The Terroriser and its sequel, both of which were nominated for awards in his head. He is also the producer of Hermaphrodroid, a comedy short which won the Audience Award at the Sci-Fi London Festival. Its tagline: ‘No Justice, Just Arse!’

Megaforce

At first glance, 1982 action blockbuster-that-wasn’t Megaforce is confusing. It’s pitched as a serious, big-budget action movie, but its hero, Ace Hunter (Barry Bostwick from The Rocky Horror Picture Show) wears a skin-tight leotard and blue bandana which makes him look like he’s about to compete in a speed skating tournament. Seriously, who thought it was a good idea to put your leading man in a spandex onesie? Surely your costume designer has more self-respect than that? Oh, that’s right, there is no credited human designer. The costumes were created by Mattel. Yep, they were actually made by a toy company.

Obviously, the plot is generic gibberish. The Republic of Sardun doesn’t know what to do when their mad neighbour Gamibia keeps trying to conquer them, so they send Major Zara (Persis Khambatta, aka the bald lady from the first Star Trek film) and a well-coiffed dullard (Devon from the original Knight Rider) to seek the help of a secret international peacekeeping force. That (not very as it turns out) clandestine team is led by Ace, with some nifty sidekickery courtesy of terrible-joke-teller Michael Beck (from Warriors) and this nerdy professor guy. That’s pretty much it.

Khambatta doesn’t really get to do anything other than a pivotal training montage scene in which she undergoes a series of tests to get into Hunter’s elite fighting unit. She passes and then says something like, ‘So when do we start?’ and he replies, ‘Nah, actually, I’ve decided it’s better if you stay home anyway’, like a misogynist douchebag. I mean, his excuse is that because he fancies her, she’ll distract him and his team during the mission, but that’s clearly bollocks. The whole thing ends with a battle sequence that’s obviously shot in the middle of the Midwestern desert with tricked-out dune buggies and flying motorbikes that can fire rockets. Ace survives, the baddie gets away with it and actually gives his nemesis the thumbs up. I don’t know what it is about thumbs up, but Megaforce is totally obsessed with them. If they were able to not talk to each other and instead communicate using a brand-new language created entirely out of different ways of putting your thumbs in the air, they totally would.

Megaforce is terrible. It’s also awesome. For the most part, you may as well be watching a live-action version of Team America: World Police. It’s got 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, but I hatched a theory early on in my multiple viewings of it: I think it’s supposed to be a full-on comedy. Our laughter is what the filmmakers wanted. But how to see if I’m right? Well obviously, I phoned up the film’s producer and co-writer.

Read more...

It looks like Ben Falk has not made any updates yet. Check back soon!

These people are helping to fund Schlock and Awe.

Avatar
Marianne Falk
Avatar
Laura Ottley
Avatar
Laura Smith
Avatar
Alice Broadribb
Avatar
Maria Welch
Avatar
Candida Slater
Avatar
Zoe Stern
Avatar
William Fiennes
Avatar
Peter Frankopan
Avatar
Tristan Jones
Avatar
Andrew Duff
Avatar
Andrew Lycett
Avatar
Richard Beard
Avatar
Janet Pretty
Avatar
David Owen
Avatar
Tim Beard
Avatar
Laura Falk
Avatar
Tom Holland
Avatar
Jon Hotten
Avatar
Jonathan Wilson
Avatar
Anthony McGowan
Avatar
Christina Falk
Avatar
Alex Preston
Avatar
Matthew Parker
Avatar
Charles Cumming
Avatar
John Osborne
Avatar
Charlie Campbell
Avatar
John Crawford
Avatar
Katy Guest
Avatar
Quentin Falk
View all supporters

Join in the conversation

Sign in to ask a question