The Bad Movie Report

The Eleventh Annual New Orleans Worst Film Festival
The Eleventh Annual New Orleans Worst Film Festival
The Eleventh Annual New Orleans Worst Film Festival

1. The Perfect Storm

As I watched, in the early morning light, the water creep across my front yard and toward my front door - a small but implacable lake - I sipped my coffee and thought to myself, The 11th Annual NOWFF may be the most jinxed event in history. That's exaggeration, of course, but when one is contemplating rousing one's family from a remarkably sound sleep - one you did not get to share - to tell them to prepare to evacuate their home... well, exaggeration becomes a way of coping with the situation.

But consider: Andrew of had to teach Marines how to beat each other up (or something equally important to national security) and was unable to attend, our first sign of trouble. The weekend prior to the event, the Enigmatic Apostic of B-Notes entered the hospital for multiple bypass surgery, which naturally meant not only his absence, but that of his irrepressible and delightful wife Jo as well. A mere two or three days prior to our trip to the Big Easy, Andrew With A Blazer, Ken Begg's Bad Movie Buddy for several hundred years, injured a hamstring during the exercises for whatever paramilitary ninja group he hangs with, and had to bow out. And now, two days after Tropical Storm Allison had first crossed the Houston area, The Bitch Was Back, and as the depth of water in my street and yard grew, so seemed to shrink my chances of attendance.

That's her, officer!  That's the bitch!However, Allison decided to torment other people and moved on; the water stopped halfway up my yard and began to actually recede. I finally got some sleep. When I awoke some four hours later, the street was clear, the skies yet cloudy. A mile to the north and a mile to the south, there were homes knee-deep in water. There appears to be something to this prayer thing after all (Apostic had weathered his surgery and was doing well in ICU).

As the sole B-Master driving to the event that year, it was my task to pick up the canned goods for our admission (the price of a ticket at NOWFF is $7 and a sack of non-perishable food for the Second Harvester's Food Bank, a worthy cause). The sort of The Day After scene I had anticipated at the grocery store did not develop, and I shopped in calm serenity. Picking up the rental car was a bit trickier, due to the sheer number of people who attempted to drive through standing water in the vicinity, and were needful of transportation while their two-ton paperweights dried out. However, Enterprise, knowing we had made our reservations a month prior to the emergency, came through for us in good time. Bravo, guys, you will certainly continue to have my business and endorsement.

The drive to New Orleans can be best described in one word: rainy. Allison was still holding court over the Gulf coast, and parts of Lousiana were flooding just like Texas. My wife Lisa and I saw a lot of very high water on the roadside, bayous and rivers swollen to just under the bridges that crossed them, but I-10 remained clear; we were eventually safely esconced, dry and tired, in the official hotel of the B-Masters this year, The Crescent on Canal Street. We popped the extra money for a suite, meaning we got a sitting room with a fridge and microwave for a mere $10 more. Sweet, as Cartman would grunt as he raided Lisa's cookie collection.

Mmm, mmm, good!The other early arrivals were Joe Opposable Thumb Films Bannerman and Jennie Burroughs, whom I knew only from her report on B-Fest 2001. We trekked down Canal Street to find something to eat, which was delightfully easier than the same trek from last year's location. We settled on a small restaurant whose name I cannot recollect, but will doubtless try to find again next year - next to The Picadilly Lounge and Tandooried Chicken, it featured jaw-breaking po-boys, a muffaletta that produced ecstacy in the two womenfolk, and was also the place I discovered my Beer Soul Mate. I had never found a domestic brew that completely satisfied my many demands upon such a beverage, but Abita's Turbo Dog, a dark ale with a coffee aftertaste and a totally bitchen name, is now (as Patrick Swayze would say) "My new Saturday Night Thing". Good thing it's available in Houston.

Joe and Jennie, being young'uns, heading to the quarter to find Jazz in the misty night. Lisa and I, in anticipation of The Big Day, ahead, returned to our room to rest up. Good choice.

2. March or Die

I had been initially pleased to find that the Crescent boasted a "Complimentary Continental Breakfast" in their dining room. When Lisa and I entered said dining room Saturday morning, however, we found that the breakfast consisted of coffee and doughnuts with a 2 doughnut limit. Anybody knowing what on which "continent" that comprises breakfast, please drop me a line. Equally dismayed at the nonselection were Jeff Filmboy Stanford and Loren Filmgirl Faust; the aforementioned Joe and Jennie; the Andrew With A Blazer-less Ken Jabootu Begg; and, of course, the two-headed creature that is Stomp Tokyo, Chris Holland and Scott Hamilton, along with the lovely wife of the Chris personality, Christina.

The solution to our breakfast woes, it was felt, was a quick trip to Cafe du Monde. You know, when you look at it in white and black like that, it doesn't make much sense. Here we were, in a dry, air conditioned room, with free coffee and doughnuts, planning to walk about a mile in the rain to a cafe to pay for coffee and doughnuts. Damn. Wish I still had that time machine...

Here You Get By WIth Brutally Murdering Your Wife

A charming sign outside Vidor, Texas. Yep, I'm sure proud to be a Texan.

So the trek began. It was a mild drizzle, but the hour was late and the pace was brisk, and though I started in the middle of the herd, I gradually fell back, to where Scott, Joe and Ken were arguing about Van Damme movies. This worried me - the rear of the herd, not the van Damme movies - because in the back, that's where the predators get you. And having seen a rat the size of an opossum the day before, I was cautiously eyeing the shadows.

We arrived at Cafe du Monde, myself sweating profusely and huffing badly... only to discover that we weren't the only idiots who wouldn't come in out of the rain. There was a line of umbrellas a half-block long, waiting for their chance to drink chicory coffee and eat fried dough buried under powdered sugar. The jinx was still in control of our fates. Devastated, we retired to a slightly less crowded diner across the street (as black spots were dancing before my eyes at this point, I did not note the establishment's name; I believe Ken did, however), where, to my delight, I was able to order actual food. We wolfed down our breakfasts (except for Jeff - who must have ordered from the Twilight Zone Take Out menu), hailed cabs, and hurriedly gathered our Festival supplies and rental cars.

Thus was born the tale of the DuMonde Death March.

3. These Are The Damned

In essence, we arrived at NOWFF a half-hour late, a bit problematic since Chris and Scott had the traditional Stomp Tokyo cups which were meant to be handed out with the tickets. The lighter side of our tardiness is that NOWFF likes to separate the poseurs from the truly hardy bad movie afficianado with an opening feature that is basically a metric ton of suffering. Last year, it was the astoundingly stultifying Serpent Island. This year it was Galaxy Invader, and rarely have I been so happy to miss the opening exposition of a movie.

"And there'll be no mention of the end of Equinox, right?"

Secret BMRCam reveals Ken "Jabootu" Begg accepting graft from NOWFF president Alfred Richard in exchange for a good review!
Film at eleven!

We headed immediately for the front row. I sat with Lisa on my left and Ken to my right, with Chris on the other side of Ken, Filmboy and Filmgirl immediately behind us. It was good to finally go through a fest in Ken's presence - I seem to pick a different B-Master at each event, with happy results. Though it was strange to see Ken without Andrew With A Blazer, who seems (in my mind) to be Chewbacca to Ken's Han Solo, except that I can generally understand what Andrew is saying. Ken is the acknowledged Master of Ass Stamina, sitting in the hardwood hell of Benjamin Franklin High School's auditorium with hardly a break, earning him the honorific "Iron Butt". Throughout the fest, I would put on my best badly-dubbed chop socky film voice and entreat him, "Sifu! Sifu! Teach me the secret of Iron Butt kung fu!!!" to which he would sneer something about my not being ready yet, and then he would eat another Nutty Buddy®.

But now it's time to talk about the movies.

The Galaxy Invader

In Don Dohler's cinematic gift to the ages, an alien crashlands in Deliverance territory and is promptly hunted down by rednecks who figure to turn a profit off the misunderstood creature (not to mention blow the hell out of everything with his fancy sparkler gun). Our two Evil Capitalist wannabes are an Ernie Kovacs imitator and some hillbilly whose wardrobe seems to consist of one Now that you mention it, I don't feel so bad about Forever Evil...pair of jeans and one ripped T-shirt, but whose refrigerator is stocked with 18 different brands of beer. By our unscientific count, there were at least 8-10 dead bodies littering the backwoods by movie's end, and no one in the flick seemed very concerned about that...

As ever, an unconcious theme made itself known in this first flick, and that theme was drooling, as the faux Kovacs removed his cigar from his mouth, followed by a stream of saliva. Universal Audience Response: "AAAAAAAAAAAAGH!"

And now, because Borntreger couldn't make it, I'm appropriating one of his riffs I've always envied (which means he will likely introduce me to the World of Hurt™ when next we meet)...


  • There is a daytime beer, and a nighttime beer, 'cause you don't want to drink nothin' heavy at night. To say nothing of your Sunday-go-to-meeting beer.
  • Aliens are made of Floam™.
  • The Flashdance look is not for everyone.

Four meddling kids find themselves in possession of The Necronomicon, and we all know what that means: that's right, stop-motion monsters, and lots of them. Not to mention a Park Ranger named Asmodeus, astride a silent ninja horse. "I just remembered... Asmodeus! That's another name for the Devil!"

As a public service, here is the end to Equinox.Complications developed when the tape of Equinox ended perhaps fifteen seconds before the movie did. The NOWFF staff apologized profusely, but fortunately the movie's script had already sent a telegraph to each and every member of the audience detailing the "shock" ending. Nonetheless, many people sought me out to confirm their suspicions, knowing I had already reviewed the flick. Worst of all, many were left uncertain that this actually was a Jack H. Harris movie, as they were denied the confirming THE END?

Drooling: Asmodeus drips some spittle on one of his victims.


  • If it's named after a demon, chances are it's a demon.
  • Girls can't climb hills.
  • Endings aren't all that important.

To continue the jinx, we were supposed to thrill to the adventures of Bert the Turtle as he learned to Duck and Cover! (there was even a Civil Defense brochure included in our freebie Barf Bag). But this short and the end of Equinox were apparently playing poker in some houseboat off the coast, so instead we were treated to a highway safety film. No Wheels of Tragedy or Last Prom this, it mainly warned us against roping two cars together. And that tailgating jerk in the convertible deserved to eat trailer.

Night of the Lepus

Night of the Lepus - ooooo!  Scary!Stuart Whitman tampers in God's Domain and the American West is beset by giant killer..... rabbits.

The most constant source of amazement is drawn from the knowledge that, at some point, a movie executive must have seen the footage of wabbits romping through a miniature set and thought, "Oh yes, this is scary."

The murderous mopsies are eventually exterminated via a makeshift giant electric fence (Hassenpfeffer and fur coats for everybody!) But nobody was interested in my plan for getting rid of the monsters, which involved breeding a similar strain of giant field mice. While the bunnies were involved with pickin' up the field mice and boppin' 'em onna head, they would have been easy targets.

And once more, as in I Drink Your Blood, we find that children who are responsible for wholesale carnage and slaughter are held blameless.

Drooling: One of the lethal lapins foams at the mouth.


  • Rabbits are carnivorous.
  • If two minutes of slow-motion bunnies running through a miniature set is scary, then twenty minutes must be terrifying.
  • It is impossible to say "There is a herd of giant killer rabbits headed this way" and be taken seriously.

In the following short Mysteries of Getting Sick and Getting Well (Hosted by William Shatner!), we discovered what happens when you eat an apple without washing it: you get puppets in your bloodstream.

The Twonky

Yeah, YOU trying finding a picture of the damn Twonky.A fairly hard-to-find film; I was excited that it was showing. Hans Conreid plays a college professor whose absent wife buys one of those new-fangled TV things, but it turns out it is actually an ambulatory, intelligent device from the future employing protective camouflage as a TV. Hilarity is supposed to ensue, but never quite arrives. Like a lot of Arch Oboler's film work, talky and more than a little overwrought; his radio work was far superior. As I recall, Henry Kuttner's original story wasn't over a couple thousand words long; stretching it out to feature length was deadly.

Drooling: It is 1953, and drooling had not yet been invented.


  • TV is evil, I tell you! Evil!!!!!.
  • Aging football coaches know all about stuff like holes opening in space-time and futuristic devices.
  • Only an elderly British matron can kill a Twonky.

Austin, Texas horror host Professor Griffin stepped up to accept the highly coveted Golden Sludgie Award and introduced our next movie (doing his usual boffo job):

Village of the Giants

After the fake Bert I. Gordon movie, Night of the Lepus, here, at last, was a real Bert I. Gordon movie. Which meant it was time for us to go to dinner, leaving Iron Butt behind. "Go on with your seat cushions and your dinner breaks," he guffawed. "I can take it!!!" And we left, thoroughly humiliated, with Joe Bannerman protesting all the while, as he felt that the slow motion footage of scantily clad women dancing during the credits promised a really good movie.

Konnichi-wa! I am Japanese, and have no idea why I'm here!The jinx was still in full effect: the road to the traditional Chinese restaurant (The China Rose) was closed for construction. Using geometry and advanced calculus, we finally arrived (with Joe bitterly convinced that he was missing out on ninety minutes of bikini-clad babes gyrating sexily).

Drooling: Well, I love me that General Tso's Chicken somethin' fierce.


  • Joe Bannerman judges movies by the opening credits.
  • This was forwarded by Chris: "Chefs are hired directly from Mainland China in order to prepare the best, most authentic Chinese cuisine in New Orleans."
  • That explains the sweet sauce of this particular version of the General's Chicken. Yummy!

We returned just in time for more door prizes (no succor for me yet again... curse you, Iron Butt! Curse yoooooooooou!!!!), but having sadly missed last year's surprise hit short, Vandalism. Then it was time to buckle down for

Journey to the Seventh Planet

John Agar leads an expedition to Uranus, prompting a plethora of "on your anus!" jokes which wore thin at two minutes, but managed to continue for what seemed like twenty more - which is, come to think of it, a fit metaphor for most of the movies on display here. Carl Ottosen, the star of yet another Sid Pink sci-fi epic, Reptilicus, is on hand as the elder scientist. As Ottosen played the moronic American General Graysen in that Danish daikaiju, I attempted to override the anus jokes by finishing each of Ottosen's lines with "So let's blow it up!", to little discernable effect.

Good Guys prepare to lay down some hurt - on your anus!!!!The astronauts find a breathable atmosphere and women from their past (on your anus!), and the space brain that is creating all this; as Ken pointed out, the brain is providing a livable environment and willing sex slaves - what's the problem here? Why do the naughty scientists keep trying to kill the brain? But there's an "and conquer your pathetic world!" lurking in there somewhere, under all those "on your anus!"es, so our badly dubbed heroes match wits with Brainiac. I theorize that John Agar is by this time licensed by the government to kill monsters with impunity. James Bond has the earthly terrorists, Agar gets the space brains.

A major line of conversation concerned the obvious similarities between this movie and a portion of Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles, but it has to be admitted it would be very hard to market a movie called Uranus is Heaven.

Drooling: A stop-motion "rat thing" (conjured by the space brain to protect itself) drools in noticibly motionless close-ups.


  • Having your arm flash-frozen by thrusting it into the near-absolute zero atmosphere of Uranus is curable by bed rest and hot chocolate.
  • Some deaths are so horrifying they cannot be shown on film.
  • Rats are bipedal and have only one eye - on your anus!!!

In case there was any joy left in your life, a short film on the operation of a Kodak 16mm film projector was shown, an experience not unlike an endless Sunday afternoon spent at your maiden aunt's house, just without the pervasive smell of Gold Bond Medicated Powder.

But wait! Who's that urbane fellow, giving away free crap and attempting to soothe the hurts of the world? Why, it's none other than yours truly, Dr. Freex, holding forth at some length about the Stomp Tokyo-sponsored festival closer -


Jimmy, a lonely little British expatriate (Jack Wild) has a psychotic episode and hallucinates that he has journeyed to an island populated by talking, cowboy boot-wearing dragons, a witch on a jet broom, and a frog that dresses like Liza Minelli. And I'm not even touching on the weird stuff.

An anti-drug message far more more potent than any "Just Say No" campaign.Unless, of course, we're supposed to take this at face value, in which case it is a tale of a boy and his talking flute trying to get back home from Living Island, and failing. Being based on a TV series, of course Jimmy could never get home. Sad, really.

The movie itself bears the teethmarks of 1970: sudden psychedelic explosions, strange shock-edits, and the villainess Witchiepoo turning herself into a go-go dancer (and Billie Hayes looked damned good, too!). I felt right at home, but the audience, no doubt feeling the lack of circulation to their behinds, soon became surly (a notable exception being Iron Butt, who was actually beginning to nod off occasionally. Feet of clay! Feet of clay!).

The last act of the movie has a Witches' Convention being held at Witchiepoo's castle, and shows some real creativity. Mama Cass Elliot (!), playing Witch Hazel, sings a song accompanied by Busby Berserkly dancing witches. Martha Raye arrives as the Head Witch, with her major domo, a goose-stepping, sieg heil-ing rat in an SS uniform, which seemed to appall a goodly number of people. Raye would later become the villainess in one of the Sid & Marty Krofft Pufnstuf clones called The Bugaloos, and would still be assisted by the Nazi Rat.

I laughed, I cried, I couldn't feel my ass. Five stars.

Drooling: None on screen, despite Pufnstuf being slow-roasted on a spit with a giant apple in his mouth (Ken: "Is it possible to roast a dragon?").


  • In 1970, the entire country was doing drugs - they just weren't very good drugs.
  • Witches are afraid of angels.
  • Apparently, it is no longer appropriate to make fun of Nazis.

After the traditional closing act - Duck Dodgers in the 24th 1/2 Century - we cleaned up our messes and gravitated back to the hotel.

Iron Butt's original plan was to spend a night of debauchery with the two hard-drinking Andrews in the French Quarter; denied his two Platos, however, our Dante decided to simply taxi it to the airport and spend the night there. Lisa would have none of it, and She Who Must Be Obeyed commanded him to nap on our couch until it was time to leave. Iron Butt threatened us with his dreaded Shaolin Snore technique, but we had no fear in our hearts. I snore, my wife snores, our son snores... hell, our cat snores. We were equipped with the latest in earplug technology. And after staying up until 2:30, watching Jack the Giant Killer on WGN (how did they know?) and chatting with a shrinking population of B-Masters (finally just Ken, Scott and myself), I fell into bed.

Was the jinx over? Hardly. According to the news, Allison had been storming over Houston all day. And that was where we had left our son.

4. Waterworld

"We're sorry, but due to the flooding, we are unable to complete your call" is not what worried parents want to hear on a rainy Sunday morning. Fortunately, we were able to get through to folks like my mother and Lisa's sister, who were able to verify that everything was wet but copacetic in our home. Breathing a sigh of relief, we grabbed our bumbershoots and joined the others in a trip to our brunch target of last year, The Court of Two Sisters.

Only to be turned away. With the rain, the courtyard was closed, and we couldn't get in until 2:30 that afternoon. Oh, that rascally jinx! We retired to Poppy's Diner, across the street from Pat O'Brien's, and got some sustenance, then proceeded to the French Market (noting that the line of umbrellas was still waiting outside Cafe du Monde) to buy cheap souvenirs to pass off on our relatives. Joe in particular jumped through several hoops to buy a Pocket Cajun, insuring that every bon mot thereafter would be followed by a tinny Justin Wilson cry of "Aaaaaaaaay-eeeeeeee!"

I bought a skull.

Jennie, Filmgirl, Filmboy and Lisa discover the joys of powdered sugar.Eventually, we bid adieu to most of the others, leaving only ourselves, Jennie, and the Filmboy duo. That evening, we sat in the courtyard of Pat O'Brian's, where luckily the tables have enormous umbrellas. Sat in the rain, sucking down rum mixed with fruit punch, and talked endlessly. Well, except for Jennie, who just sat there, observing. And in a zen-like moment, I realized what it was like to sit at a table with me in similar circumstances.

Monday dawned, Timothy McVeigh received his orientation packet at the Gates of Hell, and we packed to return home. As the last zipper on the last bag was closed, the sun burst through the clouds, and blue skies appeared. Ayyyyyyyyy-eeeeeeee!

If there was one thing we learned last year, it is possible to snag a parking place in the Quarter on a Monday morning. So we all piled into the rented Freex-mobile and finally had our damned coffee and beignets at Cafe du Monde. Take that, you stinking jinx! A final gout of shopping, and we were all off to our respective homes, Lisa and myself passing through several flooded vistas and outlying developments, the Filmboy and Stomp Tokyo contingents actually flying through Allison to await her arrival at their doorsteps: The jinx was once again on the move.


  • Serious about his waffles is our Scott.
  • Filmgirl is a magnet for rude and surly help: always let her enter a room first to clear it.
  • Despite weather, the jinx, and the near-gangrenous state of our asses, the Eleventh Annual New Orleans Worst Film Festival was a great time - on your anus! AAAAAY-EEEEEEEEE!!!