Posts Tagged ‘So Bad They’re Good’

The Vietnam War had an interesting effect on the Hollywood and smaller studio systems of the 1970s and 1980s. War movies had been a staple of American cinema for about as long as there had been an American cinema, and most of the mainstream war movies had for the longest time a large “Rah, Rah, Sis-Boom-Bah” factor about them. They would occasionally try to slip a ‘look at the horrors of war’ moment into some of them- typically with the death of a beloved character played by a major name actor –but they were largely focused on looking at war as a heroic endeavor that turned men into heroes and heroes into legends. They were the types of films that made young kids want to go out and play soldier with their friends and “die” in a blaze of glory and honor.

Then the Vietnam War hit and a lot of that got turned upside down. America was coming off a war it hadn’t won. Two wars actually, because right before Vietnam there was Korea. Technically, America didn’t really lose either war, but creating films around a war where the ultimate best chant for audiences coming out of theaters could be “We Didn’t Lose” didn’t have the same vibe as being able to declare victory and a world saved from evil by the end of the film. There were no films like The Fighting Seabees to be made where a lead character played by a popular actor could die and it was still okay in the end because he sacrificed himself for the ultimate greater good of the winning war effort.

In the wake of Vietnam, the nature of the American war film changed. Even films being made about WWII started changing how they portrayed war and the effects of war on soldiers. But when Hollywood starting making films about Vietnam? Gone were films like Mister Roberts or To Hell and Back, because Hollywood was now making films like Coming Home and The Deer Hunter. For a time, the war film became the intensely haunting examination of how war destroys man in more ways and more places than just on the battlefield. Even when larger studios geared a film to be more action oriented, there was still a strong focus on the toll the war took on the men who fought it. It’s gotten lost on many thanks to the sequels, but even First Blood was largely centered around how the war had changed and destroyed John Rambo and crew. Some smaller studios might still go the exploitation route, but many still tried to do films with the themes these other films had. Some of them actually worked fairly well. Then there were the films like Ruckus.

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After two rather successful forays into the world of the Blind Dead, Amando de Ossorio decided to change the formula up a bit and introduce some new twists into the mythos. Not all of this worked as well as he had hoped it would. The Ghost Galleon (also more commonly known as Horror of the Zombies in the 50 films for $20 public domain movie DVD sets) would move our decaying blood drinkers out of their scenic Spanish countryside home and into a broken down vessel drifting on the ocean waves. It also tried to introduce the weird, paranormal pseudo-science that was showing up in a lot of low budget (and the occasional bigger budget) horror films of that time. The former concept was actually enjoyable on a cheesy, so bad it’s good level once the film got past all of the mumbo jumbo buildup of the latter concept, but, still, enjoyable as hell or not, this film was a turkey and then some.

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One of the great goofy films that will likely never see a proper release on home video at this point. A shame too since it has a lot of fun with some of the so-bad-they’re-good films of yesteryear. My look at it over on Needless Things.

http://www.needlessthingssite.com/2015/05/it-came-from-hollywood.html

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The Keep 1

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You know, one of the staples of much of the 70’s and 80’s entertainment industry, be it in books, television, or movies, was showcasing the rampant drug culture of the time. One of the subjects that the entertainment industry liked to showcase from time to time as suffering from these insane levels of drug and alcohol abuse was in fact the entertainment industry itself. You would get depictions of everyone from the lowliest starlet wannabe to the most powerful Hollywood exec drunkenly snorting enough cocaine to kill anyone not named Hunter S. Thompson.

Sometimes they really overdid it. You would look in utter disbelief at the TV screen or the pages of your book while thinking that it was insane how much they were overplaying it. There was just no way that the drug and alcohol use was that bad in Hollywood, you would think to yourself, as there would simply have been no way that the place could have functioned if it had been that badly screwed up. Then, occasionally, you come across a product from that era of Hollywood’s history where you find yourself thinking that they might have just been underplaying exactly how insanely coked out of their minds everybody really was. The Keep is one of those films.

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These are the movies that, while still kind of good in their own special way, didn’t quite live up to the expectations of the creators involved. As such, they might be best enjoyed only after copious amounts of your favorite adult beverage has been consumed. Yes, these are the films that are so bad that they’re good(ish) and enjoyable for how spectacularly they failed to live up to their potential.

Today we look at The Brainiac.

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Oh, calm down. It’s not that bad. Well, it’s not entirely that bad.

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