The Bad Movie Report

Evidence of a Decaying Mind

The Mandatory 1st Anniversary Column

It is usually customary to begin these things with a statement like, It sure doesn't seem like a year has passed. Well, sorry, but it does seem like a year since I posted my first review. Longer, even.

I'd been messing about with a trial version of HoT MetaL and cobbled together a site that was, at least, presentable, but was missing what Seth Brundle would call "the poetry of the meat." (he said, misquoting The Fly) It was about computer gaming - I reviewed a bunch of games and ponied up all the various cheats for each game, 'cause I'm a big cheater. That was fun - downloading the demos for a ton of games and gosh, having to play them so I could review them... what a hardship.

Probably the only reason that page never saw the light of day was due to my server. Though I'm a relative newcomer to HTML - I almost literally learn something new every day - I've been messing about with computers for years. Wrote elementary programs in Basic on a TRS-80. Got proficient at DOS. Started learning Visual Basic for the hell of it (back when I had time to do things 'for the hell of it'). But my server, for whatever reason, required thinking in Unix to post your Web page. My brain would start throbbing, and thus the world was forever cheated of my first page. Lucky, lucky world.

A year ago - again, because I had time on my hands - I was a member of the Fortean e-mailing list, and a finer, more eclectic bunch of people to hang around with, you couldn't find. One of the more prodigious posters, Felinda, told us all about Fortune City and their free websites. Best of all (for me, anyway), their uploading system was Web-based. At the time, I was a fan of the Weekly Horror Movie Review (now bi-weekly), which seemed to close and never come back (it actually only moved). I aimed to fill that perceived gap... and little did I know how many review-based sites there actually are Out There.

Like GeoCities, FC is organized like a virtual city. All the houses on "Karloff Street" in "Area 51" were taken, so I squatted in a building on "Chaney Street". For the first two weeks, There was nothing up but a poster for Robot Monster while I figured out what to do. Then I had one of those moments that provide you with an epiphany: I rented Tales from the Crypt presents Bordello of Blood, which has become the odious movie-watching experience by which I judge all odious movie-watching experiences. I knew I had to warn the world about it.

I still shudder when I go back and re-read that first review - the bare bones of what I wanted to do are there, but it still lacks "the poetry of the meat". Yes, I do go back periodically and re-read everything, making corrections and additions as I see necessary - one of the nice things about Web writing. Yet I feel it important to leave that very first review pretty much untouched, if only as a First Milestone (and a reminder of how far I might have come).

After a few of the reviews had been published, I started running across more review sites, and writing the ... cripes, what do we call them? Publishers? Owners? Managers? Webmasters? (StompTokyo's Chris Holland has to gently point out my coding errors a little too often to consider myself a Webmaster) Anyway, I wrote them for the purpose of exchanging reciprocal links, so I could see my little counter go ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching with greater rapidity. Thus did I find StompTokyo, which still remains my favorite of all those sites - Scott and Chris' tastes dovetail with my own enough that when we disagree, we can all admit that it is for good reasons, and that's a nice feeling.

A little later, when Chris asked me to defect to StompTokyo's domain and "lose that mojo URL", not to mention the advertising banners at the top of each page, I leapt at the chance. Well, not exactly "leapt"... I took a couple of days to pretend to think about it. Then I said yes, and the rest is, if not history, a reasonable facsimile of same.

In one of those funny little coincidences that life likes to hand you. I found that Barry's Temple of Godzilla had also found a home here. Barry's was one of the very first sites I ever bookmarked, and with good reason. It's a bit odd, finding myself in such high-powered company - rather like the few times I've found myself in the presence of actual players in the entertainment field. Odd, and not a little satisfying. Of course, the fact that Barry gets about 3 million more hits per day than myself and ST combined dilutes that a bit, but hell. He deserves it.

In the past year, I've cranked out a fair amount of verbiage, often at the last minute, as procrastination is another hobby of mine. Often cursing myself for starting to put pictures on the page. It's time consuming, true, but it breaks up the page nicely and saves wear and tear on the eyes from the (sometimes) oft-rethought white-on-black color scheme*. I've learned some lessons, too.

The review for Resident Evil, in retrospect, is an experiment that failed - I wanted to push the envelope of what the site might do, but the same criteria cannot be applied to both movies and video games, no matter how rancid the voice acting. Making a Bad Movie got stuck in a very predictable and rancorous rut and I yearned to get back to what I wanted to do - talk about the crap movies that few people seem to know about anymore, in a landscape taken up by Leprechauns and teen slashers (who thought they'd make a comeback that fast?) . Making will be back some day, when I am done tinkering with it. I still haven't told the tale of how important fresh produce is to the sound effects process, and that's one of my favorites.

I'll leave this journalistic breast-baring with one last lesson I learned, and it might be a secret; at least, nobody's mentioned noticing it to me. I never liked the way captions looked under my pictures, so I never used them. Then I discovered that, on a Windows platform and using Netscape (obviously, what I use), if you set the mouse pointer on a graphic image, a label will appear bearing the Alternate Text Description of the image (for people with text-only browsers, shudder!). That's where I've been hiding my sarcastic captions.

Crap. Now I gotta get a new secret.