VERSUS THE SCARECROW EPISODE TWELVE: Worst. Movie. Ever. I decided to challenge myself and really open the doors of my film knowledge and take on “The Scarecrow Video Movie Guide”. It’s 808 pages of movies and movie reviews from some of the most knowledgeable movie people you don’t know. It’s a book put together by a staff that praises, and destroys, some of our favorites and not so favorites. You can read the rest of my series here.
Just a quick refresher: each episode, I’m going to tackle three films from three different categories. Two films will be films I’ve never seen before and one will be one I’ve seen before or own. For the new films, well, new to me, I’m going to review them like a typical FTS review using the TOAST Rating system. But, for the films I’ve seen, I’m going give a quick paragraph or two about why I like or don’t like the film. We’ll try to include the poster and trailer for each film. “….and here. We. Go!”
What really constitutes a bad movie? What some see as totally unbearable and unwatchable, others see as a cult classic that is so bad it’s good, and they flock in droves to see it. In this episode I’ll be looking across the spectrum at classically bad films like Plan 9 From Outer Space, universally panned films like Battlefield: Earth, and I reflect on a film that’s so bad, guilty pleasure is an understatement.
Plan 9 From Outer Space (1958) Directed by Edward D. Wood Jr. Starring: Gregory Walcott, Tom Keene, and Mona McKinnon. IMDB says: “Aliens resurrect dead humans as zombies and vampires to stop human kind from creating the Solaranite (a sort of sun-driven bomb).”
I’ve heard time and time again that this is the worst film of all time. I had my reservations because I’ve seen some bad films in my life and thought, how could this black and white 1950s film that’s just over an hour long be terrible? I got my answer with one word: Vampires.
The film is about how an alien race plans to invade Los Angeles by bringing the dead back to life. But for some reason, those dead come back as VAMPIRES! And of course they are the over exaggerated cliché movie vampires, but then again, in a film like this, what else would I expect? Every scene is done in a studio and is designed poorly. I know cardboard cut outs would have looked better and it would have matched the acting. It’s bad. I mean, it’s incomparably bad. There is a scene where a pilot has a conversation with his wife saying how he was sworn to secrecy by the government not to say anything regarding what he saw. (Yet clearly he doesn’t care cause he breaks silence early in the film to his wife) Then he steps aside and goes into a monologue explaining everything he just told her but in more basic terms in case the conversation was too muddled with intelligence for you to decipher. The actions and movements looked stiff and rigid as if the actors were really concentrating on how the scene should go. Don’t even get me started on the spaceships. It was string holding a toy. String holding a toy!! Someone sat down in a theatre before the film was released, took a phone call with some executive to postpone a lunch date, sat in his chair and after an hour and some change went, “This is great! Now let’s put an awkward introduction with a man who will narrate every move f nearly every character throughout sporadic points in the film. THEN it will be a masterpiece.” That’s what happened, and don’t let anyone tell you different.
Now you’re probably thinking, Nick, it’s a black and white film from 1958, what more could you expect? I guess I expected something more pulpy and campy. This film felt like an afterschool special at times. You know what else came out in 1958? Attack of the 50 Foot Woman and The Blob. Those films don’t look nearly as bad as Plan 9 and they feel fun whereas this film takes itself too seriously to have fun. If you really want to see this movie, then good luck to you, you’re on your own. You’re not missing anything.
Check back tomorrow to read about my suffering through Battlefield: Earth and then again on Wednesday for the conclusion of episode 12 focusing on one of the biggest whoppers ever made. And if you’re interested in more, you can find the rest of the Versus The Scarecrow series here.