My favourite kind of bad movie is the kind that has such crazy twists and turns, and is so borderline incomprehensible, that it makes me go “WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?” when the end credits roll. The kind of movie whose editing seems to have been done by a drug addicted colour blind monkey with ADHD and two left hands. The kind of movie that doesn’t dwell too long on little minute details like acting or writing, or having scenes be in order. The kind of movie that feels like it was made by aliens trying to imitate human emotions, badly. So, with this in mind, today’s review is for a movie that embodies everything I love. WINTERBEAST is one of the more bonkers Bad Movie Monday entries that I’ve torture… I mean, entertained my friends with in a long time.
Today I’m going to review one of the granddaddies of cinematic garbage. Made famous by being called the worst film of all time in Michael and Harry Medved’s book THE GOLDEN TURKEY AWARDS, Plan 9 from Outer Space has long been held as the benchmark of bad movies. Having watched it many times myself, I’d call that moniker more than a bit unfair, but writer/director Ed Wood would roll in his grave if he heard me bad mouthing some of the best publicity one of his movies ever got.
Today I want to do something a bit different than what I usually do, and instead write a personal essay about what bad movies mean to me and how they’ve reinvigorated my passion for cinema. I’ve been writing this column for Cinema Crazed for over a year now, and have been watching the movies that inspire it weekly for almost three and a half years. It’s been a hell of a journey to be honest, and I think it’s worth talking about.
My favorite thing about watching “bad” movies with my friends is when we accidentally find one that’s really well made. It’s such a nice surprise. Like when you expect that something will taste sour but instead get a mouthful of sweet nectar. On the surface BAD BEN looks like it should be perfect for a bad movie night. It’s very low budget, it’s made by someone who is arguably an amateur, and it’s one of the many imitators following in the footsteps of the found footage genre that The Blair Witch Project catapulted into popularity. However, I enjoyed the hell out of this. Yeah, it’s got a few rough edges, but if you’ve ever read any of my previous reviews you should know by now that I like it rough.
The review I did for RISE OF SKYWALKER was a bit serious and gloomy. So I’m going to lighten things up a bit and talk about something fun this time. Today’s review is for a movie called DEADTIME STORIES, a horror anthology from 1986 that retells twisted versions of old fairy tales. Well, kinda. They do Little Red Riding Hood, and they do Goldilocks and The Three Bears, but the first story about witches isn’t really based on anything specific. That’s okay though, there’s enough nudity and gore in all three of these stories to make up for any disappointment that we’re not going to be getting a story about Humpty Dumpty as a serial killer or something. The film stars Scott Valentine as Peter, Nicole Picard as Rachel, Matt Mitler as Willie, Cathryn de Prume as Goldi Lox, and Melissa Leo as Judith “MaMa” Baer. It was directed by Jeffrey Delman. It was written by Delman, and J. Edward Kiernan, and Charles F. Shelton.
I’ve never liked reviewing a film right when it comes out. You get caught up in the hype whether you like it or not, swallowed into the propellers of either the always positive marketing machine or the always negative social media rage engine, both of which are revving at full speed. So your review suffers because you can’t stay impartial in that sort of environment. It’s like trying to judge the power of a hurricane while standing in the eye of the storm. I saw this movie a few years ago. I won’t say that I “watched” it because that wouldn’t be accurate.
I played it on a streaming service and then sort of half glanced at the screen. Now, in the interest of science, I’m going to watch it again because I feel it’s a good example of what I like to call “advertiser friendly corporate content.” This is the sort of movie that has an insultingly low opinion of its audience. It’s cynical, insincere, soulless, lazy, and ultimately empty. It’s to cinema what school cafeteria food is to cuisine.
I’ve written at length about what makes a good bad movie, but what makes a BAD bad movie? This is what I’d like to talk about in today’s review because I think I found the perfect example. Here is a movie that is so bad, so incompetent, so mind-numbingly lazy, that I can’t just overlook its flaws and give it the benefit of the doubt like I normally would. This is a movie that is insultingly and aggressively terrible. Yes folks, I’m talking about VEROTIKA.
Imagine, if you will, that the year is 1988 and that you’re a huge fan of the original Return of the Living Dead. You’ve been patiently waiting for months for the sequel to finally be released on home video because it didn’t play in any of the local theaters. You’ve been reading about the making of the film in magazines. You’ve been counting down the days to when you get to see it. Finally, it comes out and you get your mom to drive you to the video store. You rent the tape, excitedly take it home and then pop that thing in the VCR quick as you can, and… err… uh… um… what the hell is this?