We have to be clear about this: There are bad movies; there are reprehensible movies; there are movies that make you consider taking out a contract on the entire DGA, just to be sure that never in the future of humankind will there be a chance that such an affront to common decency could again be committed. And then there are films that are a strangely exhilarating kind of awful, the kind that actually restore your faith in the perverse diversity of the human race, that re-instill your wonder in the awesome chaos of the universe, that, as the slogan for Temple of Bad has it, are truly a religious experience. Such a film is A TALKING CAT!?! A putative family comedy that isn’t funny (at least not in a deliberate way) and that would likely rupture any family unfortunate enough to be exposed to it, this film starts with the premise that people would listen to a cat that dispenses cryptic directives in the voice of Eric Roberts, and then throws such niceties as narrative coherence, plausible characterization, decent production values, and commonsense behavior out the window in its attempt to fill its scant eighty-five minutes with something that justifies its existence.
The Temple of Bad team of Andrea Lipinski, Orenthal V. Hawkins, Kevin Lauderdale and Dan Persons get together to try to puzzle out some method behind A TALKING CAT!?!’s madness (spoiler: they don’t succeed). Click on the player to hear the show.
I for one welcome our crustacean overlords.
Even if you’ve never seen ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS, you probably still know it by heart. It is the perfect model of the drive-in B-movie, a sublime mix of papier-mache creatures, suggestive sexuality, and dodgy science, with just a bit of cold-war philosophy thrown in for tang. This is one of Roger Corman’s earliest films, and despite the bare-bones budget and having the ever-pressing theme of identity loss being delivered via the medium of giant, telepathic crabs with big, googly eyes, the master of the B’s makes the experience sixty minutes of pure hoot.
The Temple of Bad team of Andrea Lipinski, Kevin Lauderdale, Orenthal Hawkins, and Dan Persons welcome their special guest, Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, to giggle along at the silliness, praise the kind of good-bad film that’s all too rare but always welcome, and make far too many references to drawn butter. Click on the player to hear the show.
Well, here’s a ticklish situation: Is KARATE-ROBO ZABORGAR a bad film, or a good film trying to be bad, or a film so good at being bad that it’s actually bad? Japanese director Noboru Iguchi — the man who previously brought you such nuanced classics as ZOMBIE ASS: TOILET OF THE DEAD and the “F is for Fart” segment of THE ABCS OF DEATH — here tones down his predilection for raunchiness in order to adapt a 70’s tokusatsu TV classic about Secret Police agent Yutaka Daimon and his karate-fightin’ robot/motorcycle Zaborgar as they wage war on the fearsome, world-conquering Dr. Akunomiya and his not-completely credible henchpeople. Not that things are totally restrained, what with an attack by a giant, incontinent ant-man, weird (really weird) robot sex, and a widowed male scientist so dedicated to his sons that he breast-feeds them (yeah: ew). Throw in a mid-film ellipsis that flings the narrative twenty-five years into the future and has a now-aged Daimon re-engaging with the his arch-enemies, and you’ve got one of the weirdest, and most divisive, films explored here at the Temple of Bad.
Come join ToB participants Andrea Lipinski, Kevin Lauderdale, new regular Orenthal V. Hawkins, and Dan Persons, as they discuss whether all this is bad, brilliant, or conclusive evidence that the whole of Japanese society is seriously in need of psychotherapy.
As we’ve previously noted, in the sixties, the revolution wasn’t televised, and film wasn’t always an accurate conduit for measuring the temper of the times. BLACKENSTEIN was meant to ride the then-burgeoning wave of (duh) blaxsploitation films, reaching out to African-American audiences with a story that provided all the elements of popular cinema, yet spoke to their condition with characters who could navigate the dangerous streets of urban America and weren’t afraid of taking the struggle to the Man. Instead, what triple-threat producer/writer/special effects artist Frank R. Saletri delivered was a tale that had little to do with the classic story of the doctor who tampered in God’s domain, but was brimming with bad science, wooden acting, and exceedingly bizarre music cues. Oh, well; at least the camerawork is ambitious.
The Temple of Bad team of Andrea Lipinski, Kevin Lauderdale, Orenthal V. Hawkins, and Dan Persons tuck their afro-picks in their back pockets and sit down to discuss this wayward attempt to knock off Sam Arkoff’s more successful (and arguably better) BLACULA. Their take-away: Not even the funniest talking-dog joke in the world could save this weird, incoherent mess from being the sole credit for most its participants.
Are you hungering for a wonderful, whimsical tale filled with magic and adventure? A story that captures the spirit of the most joyous time of the year, and brings to thrilling life the legend of the man who became the ultimate symbol of generosity and good will? Sorry, we’re all out of that, but we do have lots of SANTA CLAUS: THE MOVIE instead. Yeah, we know, that’s like trying to substitute a swift kick in the crotch for front row seats at a Stones concert, but that’s pretty much the way Temple of Bad participants Andrea Lipinski, Kevin Lauderdale, and Dan Persons felt having to sit through this leaden, overproduced attempt to create a new Christmas tradition. Come listen in as they discuss why the combined talents of John Lithgow, Dudley Moore, and Henry Mancini aren’t enough to keep this attempt at secular festivity from being the biggest seasonal bummer since that year you got smashed on eggnog and tried to call your high school crush.
As best as we can determine, the producers of THE MAN WITHOUT A BODY had a camera and some film and said to themselves, “Well, we’ve got to do something with this stuff.” And the dedicated advocates of the Temple of Bad have to agree with these esteemed artistes: This film is certainly a thing. An incoherent, shoddy, poorly acted thing.
Come listen in as our special guest, mulitmediumrare.com’s[link: http://multimediumrare.com/] Orenthal V. Hawkins, joins ToB regulars Andrea Lipinski, Kevin Lauderdale, and Dan Persons to talk about a film that starts out with a man being diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor, somehow gets around to incorporating the severed head of Nostradamus, and winds up with a Frankenstein-like rampage, if by “Frankenstein-like rampage” you mean a guy who looks like a badly-dressed marshmallow stumbling around a deserted, back-lot village. Your spine will tingle! ‘Cause that’s basically the same sensation you get when your leg falls asleep.
In the future — and by “future,” we mean 2001 — the Chinese prison system will be stupid. Also violent, sadistic, and quite, quite unsanitary — what with there not being a wall, fixture or floor that isn’t thoroughly coated with the viscera of its unfortunate inhabitants — but mostly really, really dumb. That’s the big take-away from RIKI-OH: THE STORY OF RICKY, an ultra-violent Hong Kong martial arts film that doesn’t so much tell a story as throw buckets of gore around and hope that viewers will, Rorschach-like, synthesize meaning from the incoherent mess.
Multimediumrare.com’s Orenthal Hawkins joins Temple of Bad’s Andrea Lipinski, Kevin Lauderdale, and Dan Persons to celebrate ToB’s first anniversary, curse Dan’s name for being the one to pick this episode’s feature, and engage in possibly the liveliest exploration of a bad movie since the Temple opened its doors with a discussion of BIRDEMIC: SHOCK AND TERROR.
MAC AND ME is another one of those transcendental experiences — a film so awful, a film so wrongheaded in all its aspects, a film so cynically devised and ham-fistedly executed that it practically redefines the idea of the bad film. An obvious rip-off of the Steven Spielberg classic, E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, M&M (ironically one of the few products not plugged during the film) takes the scenario of a stranded alien adopted by a lonely boy and replaces stellar filmmaking with ill-advised “comedy,” and a sense of wonder with endless product placements. Plus: unmotivated chases, bad alien makeup, a dance sequence at a McDonald’s, a rampaging vacuum cleaner, reckless vandalism, and a boy in a wheelchair rolling down a hill to his imminent death. It’s fun!
So sit back, unwrap your Big Mac, pour a nice, hearty bowl of Skittles, open up a can of Coca-Cola, keep a roll of Brawny paper towels handy, shut off your Sears power tools (we could go on), and join Andrea Lipinski, Kevin Lauderdale, and Dan Persons as they tackle one of cinema’s true monuments of awfulness.
Oh, the Sixties, was there a way in which you weren’t one of our most fraked-up decades? War, assassinations, riots in the streets, MY MOTHER THE CAR on TV — never was there a time when it more seemed that society was shredding at the seams. Fortunately, director Larry Buchanan, the mastermind behind such cinematic spectacles as ZONTAR: THE THING FROM VENUS and ATTACK OF THE THE EYE CREATURES (Wiki it), was willing to tackle the tumult head-on, countering the rise of women as a political force with a clutch of Martians, including Disney escapee Tommy Kirk, who are seeking out a small sampling of the fairer sex — a grouping that includes soon-to-be-Batgirl Yvonne Craig — purely for their function as prime breedin’ stock.
Yes, it’s the science fiction classic MARS NEEDS WOMEN, and new novitiate Steve Biodrowski joins seasoned celebrants Andrea Lipinski, Kevin Lauderdale, and Dan Persons in the Temple of Bad as they explore how leering double entendres, broken tape recorders, and many, many close-ups of P.A. systems could be rallied to create one of the most potent, cinematic documents of those troubled times. If you ignore SEVEN DAYS IN MAY. And WOODSTOCK. And DOCTOR STRANGELOVE. And pretty much everything else. (Yeah, MY MOTHER THE CAR included.)
Italy has brought us so many wonderful things: Fellini; lasagna; Silvio Berlusconi (that last is debatable). But among the many marvels borne of those shores, truly the most wondrous has to be the knock-off film, a genre that took groundbreaking, innovative American titles and replicated them with a low-budget zeal and enough questionable technical prowess to make them their own classics. Loved JAWS? Wait’ll you see TENTACLES, the Italian version that features a giant octopus (plus the all-star quadrifecta of John Huston, Henry Fonda, Shelley Winters, and Claude Akins!). Got nightmares from THE EXORCIST? You should check out THE RETURN OF THE EXORCIST, which, despite the title, has neither Jason Miller nor Max von Sydow in the lead, but does offer Richard Conte in his final performance.
And if you just couldn’t get enough of STAR WARS, then the ever-inventive Italian filmmakers were willing to feed your hunger with STARCRASH, a faithful replication of CHAPTER IV: A NEW HOPE — if by “faithful” one means cheesy special effects, hammy acting and a storyline so muddled that audiences couldn’t help but proclaim, “Y’know, THE PHANTOM MENACE wasn’t that bad.” Forsaking their Jedi code, Temple of Bad residents Andrea Lipinski, Kevin Lauderdale, and I allow ourselves a flirtation with the Dark Side, one that here also claimed the souls of Caroline Munro, Marjoe Gortner, Christopher Plummer and (swoon) David Hasselhoff. In this episode, we unburden ourselves of an experience so devastating that even Lord Darth Vader would have cried, “Padme! Noooooooo!!!” Oh, wait, he did. Never mind.
La Forza può salvarti da film scadente!
THEME SONG: I Wonder If God was Sleeping by scottaltham
Song covered under Creative Commons