When Bad Does Good (Part 1)

Posted: March 25, 2010 in Threat Quality
Tags: , , ,

(OR: “In Praise of Terrible Movies.”)

Nevermind that Zombi (or Zombie II, an unrelated Italian film that tried to cash in on Dawn of the Dead – which, I guess technically, should have made it “Zombie 3” but don’t worry about that just now) is not exactly “good.” Nevermind that the acting ranges from Gloriously Hammy to “He knows there’s a camera on him, right?” (the standard B-movie scale, actually). Nevermind that it had a budget so low that its ending image – zombies are walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, but apparently that’s not enough to slow down traffic – is undercut by its teensy-weensy budget.

(I like to think that’s because New Yorkers are JUST THAT JADED.)

This is a movie here to bring you joy, dammit. You know how I know that?

Well. Zombie Vs. Shark:

What Zombi does have – in addition to a zombie tryingto eat a shark – is some absolutely gorgeous makeup work (these are ugly, rotten, dirt-drenched, misbegotten THINGS); a sense of novelty (how many zombie movies are set in a tropical location – and are not considered comedies?); and a real devotion to making its audience as squeamish as possible (seriously, you only think a zombie attempting to stab a lady in the eye, EC-Comics-style, with a shard of glass is the worst thing that will happen to her).

And a couple Fridays back, thanks to the Colonial Theatre’s First Friday Fright Night, it had an audience of people eagerly cheering it on at every turn.

My favorite part – when Beardy (the competent guy who’s going to die heroically you just know it!) runs out of bullets, and just swings the rifle-butt into a zombie-skull so emphatically that an ENTIRE ROOM roared, “YEEEEEAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!”

You cannot buy that sense of fellow-feeling.

It was a good explanation behind the popularity of Avatar to me: it doesn’t matter if the script is awful or the acting is pathetic – if a movie somehow engages an audience, it is a success. Some people are drawn in by a movie with beautiful cat-people. The people at the Colonial who showed up for Fright-Night, on the other hand, were drawn in by the prospect of a man in waterproof zombie makeup, actually trying to bite the belly of a shark.

I actually had such a great time that I fully expect to catch April’s movie – The Fly. And with a poster like this:

How could I not?

You may be wondering, just what is my point here? Well, it’s that sometimes a “bad” movie can still bring a childlike sense of joy and wonder you kind of hope for from the movies.

And sometimes, as we’ll learn tomorrow when I finally try (and fail) to parse Twilight: New Moon – it just brings you pain and utter, utter desolation.

(Art for this event comes from Tom Whalen, whose work will likely be a fixture among the Holland/Weber household shortly.)

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