24 February 2010

Showgirls, Teen Wolves, and Astro Zombies

Who likes bad movies?

I mean really bad movies.  Michael Adams spent a year watching at least one terrible movie a day to determine which howler can legitimately lay claim to the title of "Worst Movie Ever Made".  Showgirls, Teen Wolves, and Astro Zombies is the result of that year...and we need to thank Adams for watching all those movies so we don't have to (at least I'm glad I don't feel the need to watch all those terrible movies). 

STWandAZ is laugh-out-loud funny.  The writing is also pleasantly readable because Adams was the reveiwer for Empire magazine and The Movie Show at the time of his movie binge (he now writes for Rotten Tomatoes and the "Bad Movies We Love" column at Movieline).  Adams rates each of the movies he watches (out of a scale of 100) to attempt some sort of measurement and determine the worst movie ever, i.e. the movie closest to a score of zero.  He even disqualifies movies if he feels they fall too far on the side of porn (of course, this is after he watches them).  So in that vein, I will say that you shouldn't expect this book to be clean because there's about a thousand swear words, non-G-rated references to body parts, and my favorite line is "bugfuck crazy motherfucker" in reference to 1994's The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (of which I've seen about half).  I've actually seen only two of the movies Adams watched* - Showgirls (probably the most painful thing I've ever seen, no redeeming value, and Elizabeth Berkeley snorting a huge pile of coke off her ginormous faux nails is forever burned into my brain) and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (which is hysterical, completely ridiculous, and so campy - worth watching just so you can say you did).  One I have not seen is Plan 9 from Outer Space, an Ed Wood howler that is usually credited as the worst movie ever made but next to some of the movies Adams reveiws it sounds like a Best Picture winner from a true auteur.

There's just one thing that bugs me about STWandAZ and it has to do with the "Americanization" of the book.  Adams is Australian, born there, grew up there, works there, but the cultural references are conspiciously American.  I wouldn't think that an Australian would say he hadn't done something since Reagan was in the White House...would he?  Even I don't do that.  The spelling is also a little sketchy with a "mummy" or two interspersed between the "mommies".  It's probably not Adams's fault, more the editor/publisher, but "Americanizing" really gets my goat; I'd far rather read something culturally specific (and maybe learn something) than read the same-old cliches.

BUT...the content of the book is great.  If you like movies, you'll like STWandAZ.

*There seems to be a disproportionate number of absolutely heinous movies that fall into the horror genre.  I don't watch movies in the horror genre (or at least not bad ones - Halloween scares the crap out of me but it's great so I'll watch that every year) so I'm a bit at a disadvantage there as far as number of bad movies watched that Adams also watched.  But I do have a soft spot for silly action-ish movies like Van Helsing and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - that probably loses me all "cool" points I earned by watching Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.


  1. Well that doesn't seem to have many issues with the book. I get what you are saying about Americanizing thing. Great review

  2. I hope he put "Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town" in the book.