Jay Bennett


An Introduction to Loving Bad Movies

Let me make my love of B-movies pretentious for a second.

The true feeling of watching a B-movie can only be obtained after giving it ½ a star rating on IMDb, Letterboxd, and still feeling unsatisfied. You can't, you won't give it higher because you religiously stick to your rating scheme rules like the pretentious fuck you are, but you can't help but know you've had a far better time watching this than anything from [insert critically acclaimed director to spark controversy]. Maybe that's just me and the fake film buff persona that my existence revolves around. Whenever the conversation drifts into bad movie territory when discussing bad movies (which I should really record, I'm far better at talking than writing) I like to use the term ringleader to decipher the bombs from the abombinations.

Ringleader One: The Ego (Often the one who has the money)

This is the most common of the B-movie director traits and often comes through with best cow for the slaughter. These are the likes of your Tommy Wiseaus (The Room), my personal favourite Neil Breen (Double Down, Fateful Findings) and John De Hart (Geteven), who you'll be unsurprised to see name under ever job role in the credits. What makes The Room so baffling is not only Wiseau's incomprehensible performance at the forefront of the movie, it's that it has the budget behind it to look how a film should, and this madman with 6 million dollars (who knows where he got it from) managing professional technical equipment adds another layer of humour. In comparison, Neil Breen takes his lack of budget to the extreme. He clearly found 10 broken laptops on eBay and intends to the most out of his money. Part of what makes me prefer Neil Breen to Wiseau is not only how he still hasn't come to grasps with the fact his entire fanbase are laughing at him where Tommy is obviously quite self aware by this point, it's that the Mary Sue trope ego ringleaders use is taken to the nth-degree. Neil Breen is the best. Neil Breen cures cancer. Neil Breen is a supreme breeing, amazing hacker and the greatest man that's ever lived. He also has a pornstar wife in everything he produces, which is nothing to do with the fact he's a credited casting director, I'm sure.

Ringleader Two: The Fool

Enter player two, the man who has no money nor the knowledge to properly construct a picture. They've been surrounded by films all their lives and just want their big break. Unlike the following fraud there's an innocence to the fool, you can appreciate their vision and dedication, and it's all the more enjoyable watching it with that in mind, because we all know a source of humour everyone can relate to is someone else's failure. Let's shine a spotlight on our final three stooges, James Nguyen, Amir Shervan and Vitaliy Versace, who despite their genius decide to remain behind the camera. Maybe it's for the best. Amir Shervan comes from a different time, but can be directly compared to Versace and Nguyen as they are all chips off the old we want to bandwagon the success of this sub-genre but don't have the knowledge to why this was successful block. You may not know Amir by name, but the infamous Samurai Cop is something that can't quite be explained in words, the overall effect of this combination of failures makes Samurai Cop feel like a movie created by other worldly beings who have seen a few buddy cop flicks from the late 80s. It's the Gone With The Wind of shit, where Vitaliy Versace's The Last Vampire On Earth is the Twilight of shit. Why? Because it's the KFC bargain bucket equivalent of Twilight. So much so he even printed the screenplay in a 'novel' format just to say it is an adaptation. Films from our three horsemen here deserve to be shown in a film school, to contrast what perfect is, students also need to learn what happens when you hard cut between audio tracks, edit shots from different makes of cameras together, or even forget what colour is.

Ringleader Three: The Fraud

One day you may be strolling through your local CeX, maybe even HMV if you keep a close eye, and next to the biggest comic book movie of all time The Avengers is a slightly cheaper alternative titled Avengers Grimm. There's not specific personality to decipher here, this is all work of The Asylum, culprits of bandwagoning the most recent movies with low budget counterfeits, in hopes elderly grandparents buy the wrong copy by mistake. Ultimately, the Sharknado franchise, recent Tommy Wiseau projects and basically anything from The Asylum accomplish their goal of being bad, but that's where their downfall lies. The beauty of bad movies is failure, by meeting the requirements set gives the audience no juxtaposition of comedy, resulting in bare bones face value elements like intentionally poor CGI and over acting attempting to mimic original humour which has come naturally in the past.

Some people just don't get it, which is completely fine, why would you even want to watch something? God, I hate myself for finding this entertaining. But if I have any advice for people wanting to get into the b-movie circle, it's find some friends (which are useful no matter what you're doing) with similar mindset to your taste of shit humour, however if your friends prefer complete productions to dollar store garbage, you can always pretend to folks at Red Letter Media are your friends for an hour at a time. Like every niche genre it takes a lot of time and dedication to find the peak of perfection, and with every 10 dull, flat, somewhat sensical productions you may just find a diamond in the rough. Then you're in for a treat.

Jay Bennett