Another way, perhaps the more interactive and most definitely the most enjoyable way, to have your own short film festival is to have a friend or two (or many) over to watch a series of movies all in a row, and all of which you know are likely to be bad – entertaining hopefully because of that, but all-in-all bad nonetheless. While there’s nothing quite like watching a great movie it is quite an individual, singular and spiritual event. A bad movie, or at least cheesy one, can bring you closer or at least allow you to commiserate in the universal sentiment of “What exactly is going on here?”
This system, of course, works best if you haven’t seen a film yet so you and your friends are all surprised by the cheese, production values (or lack thereof), acting and other elements. Anticipation and hype can ruin such a thing. Try and pick things you have heard of that may fall into this category. If you happen upon something that might fit into a night like this that you were completely unfamiliar with even better, in fact, that’s the best.
For better or worse, there’s nothing better than going into a film, good or bad, as a completely blank slate. I’ve seen many films on either side of the spectrum that way. And of course, you always try to give something a fair chance but the minute you learn about a project you start, at least subconsciously, to form an opinion of it. It’s just human nature. If you’re looking for bad, how do you find it? Everyone has their own tastes and knows their own inclinations. Genres likely to be low-budget are martial arts, other action permutations, sci-fi and of course horror. Aficionados of any genre can spot the straight-to-DVD and other hack-jobs, typically those genres attract the most sub-par products and even true fans will readily admit it.
So to create your own bad movie night you need at least three movies, patience and a lot of snacks. Four were brought to my last one and three were seen, one left un-screened.
Here’s a recap of what we saw. Your proclivities and results may vary. What you will find below is an example and my reactions to the films seen. There were three people in attendance, none of us felt that we had accidentally stumbled into a good movie. You may disagree, and that’s OK:
Shogun Assassin – A movie cited at the end of Kill Bill Vol. 2 where we heard the English-version opening voice-over monologue because Bibi is obsessed with the movie and watches it before bed. The voice over in Shogun Assassin does get to sound more and more like Barrett Oliver in The Neverending Story as it goes on which is odd, and while having a kid along with the assassin makes it somewhat different the story is just essentially a series of individual slow battles with the assassin on the run from the Shogun’s henchman. While it does have its moments; it is proof that the result of inspiration can be much better than the inspiration itself.
Master of the Flying Guillotine – The bottom line is that there is about a 40-minute fight tournament sequence which ends in the wrong man being killed by the enemy and you kind of see that coming, so it really wouldn’t even be a feature if only necessary scenes were included.
Cannibal Ferox – Directed by famed Italian horror director Umberto Lenzi is another failed cannibal film, which follows a similar formula to others that didn’t work. An overly long set-up outside the jungle then a long time being stuck in the jungle to a very short amount of disturbing cannibalism for a film which promises gruesomeness. Now this kind of film is not for everyone, my problem is that I am typically bored out of my mind before the payoff.
The fourth film which was unwatched was also cannibal-themed was Cannibal Holocaust, which I do believe we saw later on. The genres or sub-genres can be more mixed or less mixed if you like more theme-based like these were. Pairings will be discussed more later with better films but bad movies can be just as much fun – if not more.