Call it schadenfreude, call it masochism, call it crazy but, there is an enthusiastic horde of cinephiles out there who prefer the delights of failure to success. Just as with any subculture, the bad movie aficionados can be subdivided. There are those who prefer big budget Hollywood failures like Cats or Battlefield Earth. There are those who prefer awkward and cheap 1950’s science fiction classics like Plan 9 From Outer Space or The Beast With A Million Eyes. Then there is the horrible horror crowd who indulge in movies like Silent Night Deadly Night or Frankenhooker. Lastly there are the polymorphous perverse enthusiasts like me who who seek out low quality wherever it may lurk. This particular article concerns itself with the lowest of the low. The bottom dwellers who dig deeper, way past The Room and and Troll 2 to a place few are willing to tread.
I offer you five “films” that define one end of a continuum of quality. Just as their refined counter parts at the other end of the spectrum set a lofty goal for supreme achievements these disastrous productions set a marker that helps calibrate the spectrum. When you walk out of a movie into the daylight you can say, “Well that was pretty bad but it wasn’t Homoti bad” thereby qualifying your statement and hence being more precise.
Turkey has an amazing tradition of making unsanctioned, copyright infringing rip offs of Hollywood films. These films have come to be called Mockbusters and are all profoundly horrible but the horriblest of them all is Homoti. It is a 1987 remake of Spielberg’s ET. Ninety percent of the film takes place on a couch in a featureless living room somewhere. Homoti is the name of ET’s gay cousin who has come to Earth in search of love. He falls hard for the first man he meets and then spends the rest of the film whining about how his feelings are not reciprocated. That’s it, that’s the whole thing.
It’s not easy to make it through the whole film. The novelty of the ET costume which looks like it’s been fashioned out of bread can only carry you so far. The dialogue manages a trifecta of badness in that it is written badly, translated badly and delivered badly.
Like many of the films on this list Homoti is a cautionary tale for filmmakers. It provides examples of what happens when you spurn certain cinematic conventions. If you don’t cut back and forth during dialogue and just sit the camera on a tripod in front of a couch you get something interminable. If you eliminate all shadows with flat, even lighting you will drain the life from the scene. Well made films are so seamless and slick the craft is hidden away, but rest assured every excruciating moment of Homoti keeps you painfully aware that this film was made by human hands (perhaps with big floppy mittens on).
Bat Pussy is a bit like Homoti at least in its cinematography. Instead of a being in front of a couch the tripod is set at the foot of the bed and stays there through most of the film. Ed Wood actually used this angle in his porn film Necromania. Of all the places you could put a camera to record a sexual encounter, the foot of the bed is just not optimal.
Bat Pussy doesn’t really have a plot. It’s just footage of a couple trying to have sex in a nondescript bed in a nondescript room somewhere. They are both naked and spend the majority of their time together arguing and calling each other names. Every so often they cease their bickering and mush their faces into each other’s crotches. Oral sex would not be an accurate description of what looks more like a half hearted and uniquely unsettling effort to earn a paycheck.
The male of the species never manages to get aroused through the whole film, not even a softy. Seems like the bare minimum for porn is a boner, but Bat Pussy seems to be for the those who have a fetish for watching less than attractive couples bicker.
There is one small break in the “action” when we cut to Bat Pussy wearing an ill-fitting costume and sitting in her the empty room that constitutes her lair. Through means unknown she senses the debauchery of the two inept lovers and decides to put a stop to it. She gets on a Hippity-Hop and bounces over to them. Once there she inexplicably decides to join in.
Adding a third body to the mix doesn’t help. None of the “actors” know what to do. How do I know this? Because even though it’s muted you can see the actors look off camera and ask the director what to do next. It doesn’t appear that they get much direction and so they persist in mauling each other and faking flaccid fucking.
In exasperation the male lead lunges toward Bat Pussy in an ill-conceived and overly enthusiastic attempt at cunnilingus and knocks her completely off the bed. You can hear the crew burst out in laughter as the actors look up from their tangled bodies and look to the director for help. I’m thinking the director must have been busy doing something else, maybe chatting up a cute crew member or straightening another line of coke. At one point Bat Pussy tries to help by yelling at her assailant “fuck me!” and so he unfortunately continues to try. The other woman also tries to help by correcting the man each time he mistakenly calls Bat Pussy, Bat Woman.
The film was apparently found in a closet of an old theater just before the place was torn down. There are no credits or dates on the film so there is no one to arrest for making it, but shockingly it is available on DVD.
Unlike Bat Pussy, Alien Beasts does have a plot, in that there are discrete events that transpire chronologically, but the connection between those events is indecipherable. Of all the films on this list the production level and cinema craft of Alien Beasts has to be the lowest. It looks like it was shot and edited by a child, a slow child, a slow, blind child, in a coma. In reality it was made by Carl J. Sukenic who not only makes films but also sells his drawings on line. I have enclosed a few to give you an idea of his talent.
I see this film as a motivational tool. Show Alien Beasts to an eighth grader and watch as they realize they could easily do better. The film reaches out and not only ignites the DIY spark in its audience but it asks to be bested. You can plainly see how much fun the actors and crew are having because they laugh all through it, especially during the fight scenes.
Despite its being the absolute bottom of the barrel in construction, Alien Beasts does have some amount of variety where Bat Pussy does not. Alien Beats is filmed in more than one location and provides the viewer with some gore, nudity, fighting, and an attempt at costumes. One could feasibly say that an effort was made.
Alien Beasts distinguishes itself from the other four films in that it is marginally entertaining. Watching it, you can feel the director’s excitement behind the camera. You can imagine him calling up his friends and enthusiastically coaching them on blocking and dialogue. The film fails miserably at everything it attempts, but there are enough attempts, failed or otherwise, to keep you from falling asleep. What I can say without reservation is that watching Alien Beasts didn’t make me want to die as much as watching the other films on this list.
War Is Menstrual Envy
The best thing about War Is Menstrual Envy is the title,. The director, Nick Zedd, had a way with words. Titles of his other films include: Thrust in Me, Elf Panties: The Movie, Geek Maggot Bingo or The Freak from Suckweasel Mountain, Whoregasm, and, I Was a Quality of Life Violation. It makes for an interesting looking filmography section on your resume.
Nothing about War Is Menstrual Envy makes it worth sitting through. Although if you have been looking to watch twenty minutes of a naked woman humping a pink, plastic octopus this might provide a rare opportunity for you. I suppose while you’re at it you might also enjoy the scene where a soldier in a gas mask stabs an infant, or the part where a dwarf whips a naked man in a gimp mask, but all of this makes it sound more interesting than it is.
War Is Menstrual Envy is an “experimental” film. Unfortunately it is possible that the filmmakers actually thought they were avant guard auteurs revolutionizing the cinema scene like a deranged Godard.
It does star the infamous porn star Annie Sprinkles who calls herself a performance artist. She was porn royalty in New York City along with the uniquely disgusting All Goldstein who also makes an appearance. These people were celebrities back in the 1970s when New York City was New York City.
Al Goldstien had a sleazy tv show on cable called Midnight Blue. Never, ever Google “Midnight Blue, Al Goldstein as The Amazing Spare Rib.” It’s two minutes that will scar you for life.
Please forgive me, I have digressed but only because there is nothing more to say about War Is Menstrual Envy other than it is a pointless assembling of green screen effects and incongruous imagery. Of the five films profiled I believe this one is the least watchable, or the most unwatchable, it’s awful.
Imagine a film shot without any consideration paid to lighting. I mean none at all. Some parts would be overexposed, others underexposed, some would have no contrast or be so grainy you could hardly make anything out. It would be insufferable. Now imagine a film where no thought or attention was paid sound recording or balancing. You would have sudden jumps in volume. Some sound would be close and other sound would echo as if in a cavern. It would be very hard to sit through. Well! dream no more, the fantasy has become reality. The craft in Andrew Jordan’s 1989 horror film is just about as bad as it can be and still function as a movie.
Some of the sound seems like it was recorded using a pair of paper cups on a string.
The premise is that an impotent husband becomes so desperate to impregnate his wife he makes her take some kind of experimental drug that causes her to have yucky, killer bug babies. There aren’t many other discernible features in the film. Its mostly just a dark mass of noise. 80s porn star Amber Lynn is in it but she doesn’t do anything porny. (spellcheck seems to be fine with porny, huh ). There is a lot of dialogue that goes nowhere, and a lot of scenes that don’t seem to have a purpose.
Making it to the end of Things is an arduous and joyless endeavor. I suppose you could take that last sentence as some kind of nihilistic existential statement about life in general but if you are a glass-half-full-type watching Things might make you want to throw that glass at the screen.
It was made by Canadian Filmmaker Andrew Jordan in 1989. Jordan claims that the film’s budget was 30,000 dollars but even considering the Canadian exchange rate it is inconceivable that Things cost anything more than pocket change. Beer, weed, car payments maybe but there is no way Things swallowed up 30,000 clams.
There is a lot footage of a guy walking around with a flashlight, so there is the cost of batteries. There is the homemade monster bug which might have required the purchase of some foam rubber or maybe just paste for some papeir mache, but still.
Even with all these strikes against it I still contend that Things serves a purpose. There has to be something at the bottom of the barrel. There has to be an end to a spectrum, a polar opposite of good. Establishing a continuum gives us all a sense of scale. Remember when everyone thought that George Bush was the worst president in American History? I remember when I could’t even bear to see his face and now he just looks like a poor confused little guy. Look, he makes cute little paintings now. Maybe George and Sukenic could paint some stuff together.
A special thanks to Google who made it possible for me to search the interwebs for “Bat Pussy” and thereby be afforded an opportunity to buy the cookies displayed below. Don’t they just look scrumptious!
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