Best Worst Movie (2009)
Director(s): Michael Paul Stephenson
Writer(s): Michael Paul Stephenson
Starring: George Hardy, Lily Hardy, Michael Paul Stephenson, Claudio Fragasso
Alright, I must admit that most of the entries are love letters for all things macabre that are overlooked, somewhat new or something near and dear to my heart. Trust me, there’s plenty of that in this entry as well but humor me for a moment and allow me to slam the brakes on fortifying my terrifying vault with the glue of admiration and let me just vent on the kinds of horror flicks I DO NOT enjoy.
This pretty much applies to all flicks but I do notice the kind of sludge I’m about to elaborate upon is more often than not seen in the horror section of the video store…err, I mean the horror section of the streaming app. But first, a question:
What makes a GOOD bad movie?
There are so many great horror flicks that are just awful and the best part about this genre is I can say awful and those initiated know I mean that in the most endearing ways. Again though, what makes an awful movie so good to the point where I’d want to share my love for others to enjoy? To me the rules are pretty simple; the movies that end up as cult favorites did not do so by design, far from it my friend, that is part of the magic.
Just like the cure to cancel culture, the secret is all about INTENTION. If you set out to make a BAD movie, you already lost me. Although entertaining in concept, you can’t force a cult following, it must come naturally. Flicks like Sharknado or or basically anything from Asylum Films (so many…films) usually gets a huge eye roll and perhaps a groan from me because again, it’s about intention. When you set out to make something bad you’re no longer part of the cult, you basically outed yourself as a narc and you’re winking at us as folks like me are flipping you the bird. I want to see passion in these films and I want to try to be in their shoes to think why certain decisions were made but in the end, there is respect and pure (not forced) entertainment.
A great BAD movie intends to try to do the following:
- Sets out to tell a good story but doesn’t have the budget/technology
(Examples: Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Manos Hands of Fate)
- Sets out to tell a good story but lacking skill
(Examples: The Room, Mac and Me)
- Sets out to tell an EPIC story but has no self awareness
(Examples: Howard the Duck, Samurai Cop)
Of course my examples could easily be a Venn diagram of one or all these categories but to me, the movie that genuinely wanted to tell a great story but lacked the budget, the skill and had no self awareness was the legendary horror sequel (sorta), Troll 2.
The documentary, Best Worst Movie does exactly what a documentary should which is to tell story from the point of view of someone who has passion about the subject. Now if the flick does its job, by the end of the thing, you were entertained, well informed but the most magical part is you actually care and see where the documentary maker was coming from when they decided to make the documentary in the first place. It definitely helps that the director of the documentary was the child star of the flick, Michael Paul Stephenson.
Although it would be easy to make a movie about himself, he actually went the other way and decided to make the flick focus mostly around the journey of his co-star who played his father in the movie, George Hardy. The journey the movie shows is with George Hardy falling in love with the idea of stardom and appreciating the concept of a cult following. It’s a fantastic way to present this documentary because in explaining why George is so confused why a documentary is being made about Troll 2 in the first place, the audience has to understand why the movie had such a cult following in the first place.
Throughout the film, you begin to see the highs and lows of what the actors went through after starring in a movie that was so awful by all accounts but overall, it was an experience that they were thankful for at the very end and how they realize that the best part of a cult following was the unexpected love of it all which is always much more fulfilling. One of the best, “breakout” characters in the documentary is the director of Troll 2, Claudio Fragasso. I absolutely LOVE how this man refuses to admit that his creation is a bad movie.I respect the hell out of that stand because art is subjective, I get that but I also get that this is a man who truly thought he made something wonderful and guess what? It really is, even if the pathway is not conventional by our accounts. Its as if he already knew this flick was great and still doesn’t understand the idea of a cult following but success is success and he achieved it so F*ck everything else.
Yes, I respect that notion and that confidence is something which should all strive for in our ventures because at the very least, we might become cult heroes in our own right.
Life is FAR more interesting when we take interest in things that scare us.