The Bad Movie Report

Making A Bad Movie:
My Personal Nightmare


In Which The Author Lays Some Groundwork

It was 1980. At the ripe old age of 23, I was ready to take the world of entertainment by storm. A That's me as Long John Silverwriting, acting double threat (at the time, I sneered at actors who "really want to direct". Guess what I do now?), I had settled in the Houston, Texas area, ready to rack up experience and credits in preparation for that all-important Move To Somewhere Else.

I'm still in Houston, and at the wizened age of 40 am finally starting a family. But that has nothing to do with (ominous music) My Personal Nightmare.

The year 1980 also saw the release of two movies which would exert a subtle influence over the next decade of my life: Screams of a Winter Night and Friday the 13th.

You have probably heard of one, but not the other. In fact, if you have heard of Screams outside the original Psychotronic guide (where it was mislabelled Screams of the Winter Night), I am impressed. One day, I'll review Screams, so I won't say too much about it here, except that it commits the cardinal sin of Bad Movies: it gets boring and stupid. Stupid we can handle, and is in fact, pretty essential to the Bad Movie experience. Boring, on the other hand....

Nonetheless, limited as it was, Screams got a theatrical release. When the movie began, there were perhaps a couple dozen people in the theatre. By the end, it was down to me and some guy who had fallen asleep.

What you need to know about Screams is this: I knew one of the actresses. Went to college with her. Robin Bradley was her name at the time, and she has since gotten married and moved to LA, where I lost touch with her. I was fairly smitten with Ms. Bradley, and though I've not seen nor heard from her in years, still think of her and hope that she's thriving. And I also thought she needed a better vehicle for her talent.

And then there is Friday the 13th. I realize that a lot of people like this movie. I realize it spawned Betsy Palmer in FRIDAY THE 13THone of the more lucrative franchises of that decade. But, if you want my opinion (and if you don't. boy are you at the wrong web site)Friday the 13th and it's progeny are utter crap. I think it was Entertainment Weekly that attributed it's success to the many "creative" deaths... past the axe in the face and the excellent arrowhead-up- through-Kevin-Bacon's- throat scene, all I can recall is slashed throats. And though I can applaud the WAY against-type casting of Betsy Palmer as the killer, she is a character you did not know existed until the last ten minutes of the movie... one of the worst cheats possible in a mystery/suspense setting.

And I paid money to see this. And it was not even enlightened by benefit of knowing someone in it.

Arriving home after this bleak experience, I realized something, a moment of epiphany that has arced through the brain of so many before me like smoky lightning: Christ, I can do better than that.

And so my nightmare began.


Writing the Bad Movie