Last night (I’m writing this on Sunday–yay for working ahead!) I watched a movie that was so indescribably bad that there are no words. It was so tremendously awful, I’m pretty sure I felt reality warp in the face of its complete craptitude. It is bad on a metaphysical level. The movie was Birdemic: Shock and Terror, and it was awesome.
Now the love of really, really bad movies is a peculiar thing to people not initiated into the ranks. So let me try to explain what exactly “Awesomely Bad” movies are and why I love them so much. Now a lot of this is subjective of course–what I think is good or bad and what you think is good or bad differ widely according to taste. But there are some generalizations you can make. First, you have Good movies. They’re generally well constructed, tell a coherent story, and provide some kind of meaning. Lincoln, which came out a few months ago, is generally considered a “good” movie. Then there are Bad movies, which are, well, bad. Poorly constructed, nonsensical story, and generally leave you feeling like you wasted an hour and a half you’ll never get back. Battlefield: Earth was generally panned for being a bad movie, by way of example. (Note: B-movies aren’t necessarily bad. The designation more refers to the budget and talent involved than the quality of the movie itself. That being said, oftentimes B-movies fall into the Bad or Awesomely Bad category).
Then you have the Awesomely Bad movie. These movies are usually objectively bad. They’re usually poorly constructed, made on little to no budget, and feature acting talent your local community theater wouldn’t even hire to mop its floors. Generally, they’re horror movies. Something about the horror genre lends itself to producing spectacularly bad movies (probably because horror and comedy are kissing cousins). But Awesomely Bad movies have a little something else that push them into an almost transcendental status, that warps the “good/bad continuum” rather like how a large object (or in this case a giant steaming pile of crap) warps the space/time continuum.
What is that little something? It is hard to classify. It goes well beyond goofy dialog, horrible acting, and terrible story telling. It is something more than having a really goofy looking monster (although that helps). It seems to me that what makes the difference between Bad and Awesomely Bad is the attitude of the director and the cast. Awesomely Bad movies are done completely in earnest. The directors have a story they want to tell, and a message they want to send. They BELIEVE in what they are doing. The problem is that they are just simply awful at it, and what they thought was amazing turns out to be just that, in an entirely different way than they intended.
Hopefully that all makes some sort of sense. It’s something that has to be experienced to be believed. So go to Netflix (finding awful movies is so much easier now thanks to Netflix!) and load Troll 2 or Birdemic: Shock and Terror on your Instant Queue. Invite friends over, and make an evening of it. You can all sit in awe together of how tremendously bad, yet awesome a movie can be.