Thank you, one and all, for your suggestions for the Eric’s Bad Movies column (Thursdays at Film.com!). As always, my call to action has yielded many viable choices for future editions. More on that below.
First, let me explain (again) why I said I didn’t want any comedies. Some of you seemed to think it was OK to suggest a comedy as long as it wasn’t funny, which kind of misses the point. The point is that it’s very hard to make fun of comedies because they already don’t take themselves seriously. Often, all the satirist can say is variations of, “Boy, this sure isn’t funny!” Ask anyone who makes fun of things for a living — the people at “Mystery Science Theater,” MAD Magazine, The Onion, “Saturday Night Live” — and they will tell you the same thing. Satirizing comedy is very, very difficult.
That’s not to say it can’t be done. My experience has been that it helps if a comedy has supernatural, fantasy, or sci-fi elements. The problem is that I usually have to commit to a film before I’ve had time to watch it, not after. So I need to be pretty confident going in that it’s going to be suitable for the column, and comedies are so fraught with peril that I’ve mostly avoided them. When I have attempted them, I have often not been satisfied with the results.
Several people have suggested “The Room,” a recent film that has gained a cult following for its bizarre awfulness. I do intend to check it out soon, out of curiosity and possibly for Eric’s Bad Movies. I wonder if it might be like “Troll 2,” though, where mocking it is redundant because its badness is so self-evident that it doesn’t need to be pointed out. We’ll see.
Now then! On to your suggestions!
I have a list of films to choose from every week, films that I’ve either seen or else researched enough to be pretty sure they’ll work for Eric’s Bad Movies. (I look at the reviews they got, what people say about them on message boards, what the overall tone and style seem to be, etc.) Here’s what you suggested in this latest round of brainstorming that made it to the list. (A few were already on it, probably from the last time I asked for your suggestions.)
“Night of the Lepus”
“Island of Dr. Moreau”
“The Next Karate Kid”
“King Kong Lives”
“Give My Regards to Broad Street”
“Wild Wild West”
“On Deadly Ground”
While I am skeptical of their suitability, I pledge to take a look at “The Last Unicorn” and “Flash Gordon” because so many people have suggested them.
There’s no guarantee when (or even if) I’ll actually use these, or the others that are on my list, but they’re in the pool I’m drawing from. The list has about 50 titles on it right now. I also have a “maybe” list with another couple dozen. It’s all a crapshoot. Some of my choices are based on gut instinct. You should not take it personally if a movie you suggested isn’t on the list.
A few suggestions had to be disqualified for being direct-to-video or for not being bad enough (or, in some cases, for not being bad at all). In cases where I haven’t seen the film in question, and where the critical consensus is generally positive or average, I figure it’s likely I’ll feel the same way and I don’t bother with it.
In the process of combing through your suggestions, I’ve compiled a list of movies that are probably great candidates but that aren’t readily available on DVD. They are:
“Cool As Ice”
“Happy Birthday to Me”
“The Peanut Butter Solution”
“The Punisher” (1989)
“Santa with Muscles”
“Yor, Hunter from the Future”
Some have never been released on DVD. Others were released but went out of print and aren’t available through Netflix. And while you can usually find used copies for sale somewhere, or for free on YouTube, honestly, if it’s not on Netflix, I’m not going to bother with it. This is partly out of laziness, sure, but it’s also because, perverse though it may sound, some people feel compelled to check out a particular title for themselves after reading about it in Eric’s Bad Movies, so I want to stick to movies that are available through the normal channels.
Thank you all for your interest in the column. It’s a lot of fun to write, and I’m glad it’s gone over so well with the readership. Hooray for bad movies!