When I picked up this book, my first thought was, "Is this white woman going to understand what it's like to be a person of color in this country?"
We've all been there. You invite friends over, pop some popcorn and ramp up the Halloween spirit by putting on an old horror movie. You hope it will contain that magical combination of gory death scenes and bad dialogue that will make it the elusive "So bad it's good," but alas, you've picked a slow-moving movie, like "Halloween III: Season of the Witch," and your guests are getting bored. There's nothing worse than a movie that's so bad it's boring, or a movie that's not bad enough and ends up being watchable ("Tremors," I'm looking at you). Sometimes, what you really want is to sit around and make fun of a bad movie. But with all the movie choices out there, what's a girl to do? There are a few things I look for in a "so good it's bad" horror movie:Action: I look for some type of fun, riotous action every 10 minutes or so, be it a death, a fight, or a sex scene. A fun death scene followed by 30 minutes of dialogue, exposition or boring chase scenes? You're out.Sincerity: I need to believe that whoever made this movie put all their blood, sweat and tears into it. I don't like phoned-in bad movies or movies that are winking at me, knowing that they're bad. Visuals: It doesn't matter if the effects are practical, CG, drawn in, or little people in costumes, I want to see some crazy effects that make me yell and high-five my friends. Storytelling: This one is hard to explain, but the movie can't be too … sensical. What really takes not-great acting to the next level is a story that makes no sense. I need to be confused by what's going on, and I need to be able to quote cheesy, borderline-DADA dialogue. I realize that movie-watching, and specifically bad movie-watching, is a very subjective experience, so I am only speaking about my own standards here.
But for the approaching holiday, here are some horror movies sure to get you and your friends in the Halloween C-horror spirit. I've rated each of these movies using these four factors, with 1 being ho-hum and 10 being balls-out insane.Troll 2 (1990) Consistent action: 7Sincerity: 9Crazy visuals: 8Bad storytelling: 10This movie is so legendary that it actually has a documentary made about its awfulness, called "Best Worst Movie." The story is simple: A family vacationing in a small town discovers the entire town is inhabited by goblins who plan to eat them. Characters disappear and reappear, people turn into trees, and the dialogue is amazingly bad. Always fun to watch.They Live (1988) Consistent action: 7Sincerity: 9Crazy visuals: 7Bad storytelling: 6"They Live" is actually a pretty good movie, but it's included here because of Rowdy Roddy Piper (yup, the wrestler), a stilted, stunt-casting dream. The movie's about a drifter who finds a pair of sunglasses that allows him to see that a majority of humans are actually aliens, and they're about to take over Earth. The aliens look rad, there's a 5-minute fight scene in the movie (you may not think 5 minutes is that long, but when you watch it, you can't believe it's still happening), and the dialogue is absolutely amazing. Dead Alive (1992) Consistent action: 8Sincerity: 10Crazy visuals: 9Bad storytelling: 6"Dead Alive" is a pre-Lord of the Rings Peter Jackson movie, and it is splendid. It is often touted as one of the goriest movies of all time, and that's not an inaccurate description. Basically, a monkey bites a young man's mother, killing her … until she comes back to life and starts eating everyone. That's really all you need to know. Day of the Animals (1977) Consistent action: 7Sincerity: 9Crazy visuals: 7Bad storytelling: 9I saw "Day of the Animals" at a party once, and I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in my life. The movie has an environmental slant- global warming has caused animals above a certain altitude to go insane, which is bad for the hikers that have just arrived at a mountain forest. You'll see people running in terror from clearly happy dogs, tails wagging. You'll see Leslie Nielsen (RIP) fighting a honey bear! This movie has it all! Drive Angry (2011) Consistent action: 8Sincerity: It's Nic Cage, so 10Crazy visuals: 6Bad storytelling: 6OK, so Drive Angry may not technically be a horror movie, but Nic Cage does play a demon, so it's going on the list. And holy shit, is it a ton of fun to watch in a group. Nic Cage has never phoned in a performance in his life, and he certainly doesn't here. He's a demon who has busted out of hell to rescue his granddaughter, and along the way he kills people while having sex, smokes cigars, and drives… angry. There are some fun visual effects, sure, but the best visual effect in the movie is Nic Cage simply being Nic Cage.Hausu (1977) Consistent action: 8Sincerity: 10Crazy visuals: 10Bad storytelling: 7This Japanese film, about a girl spending the summer with her best friends in her aunt's weird old house, is the ultimate party movie. It's absolutely bizarre, visually, and it's also got the appeal of a late 70s movie, plus a story that won't fully gel no matter how many times you see it. That's my list, but I'm sure we all have our favorite standards for what makes a movie so bad it's good, and the fun thing about them is that they're genuinely hard to find... So clearly, I expect to cheat and get some of your favorites for my next good-natured viewing party.