01
Aug
09

Altering lives via bad movies

It’s been a rough month. Just too much going on, too many changes, and not nearly enough time to sit back and think about what’s happening. Even my mini-vacation up at Lake Pymatuning felt rushed. But with Cali away for a conference and nothing else planned, I decided I was going to be couch potato and camp out in front of the TV.

Well, it wasn’t a conscious decision, mind you. It was just something that happened. The couch called. I answered.

And it was while flipping through the channels and finding nothing on that I remembered 2 movies on Comcast’s “On Demand” free movies that I wanted to check out. “Vampire on Bikini Beach” and “Vampire Circus”. And in those 3 hours of bewilderment, I have to admit, everything slowed down.

Now, I consider myself to be a big fan of bad movies, and there’s very few that I can’t watch. But these were so bad that they were in a very unique class of “Why was this even made?” and “How far will this ridiculousness go?”

On the label!

On the label!

“Vampires on Bikini Beach” is vintage ’80s California cheese. I mean, ’80s hair, ’80s bikinis, bad ’80s music, lots of neon, 5.25″ floppies and  such a bad plot and dialogue that it transcends all generations. I mean, naturally, if you are abducted by a cult of vampires in LA, and you manage to escape, what’s the first thing you would do? Round up your band buddies and play a gig while the girls try on bikinis! Perfectly rational! In fact, the band plays so often that I pretty much figured that they created such a hackneyed plot JUST to give the band some exposure. And I know this is a bold statement, but this movie could be the worst that I’ve ever seen.

Just ugh. Really.

Just ugh. Really.

I mean, just look at the bad guy here. Or rather, one of the bad guys. Now, when I first saw him, I was all “Is this SUPPOSED to be a guy in a mask, or are they trying to make it like he’s a real creature?”  And the awkward pose? Yeah, get used to it. He does it a lot. Always talking with his head at an angle, which I assume is because of mask difficulties.

And if the devil is the details, the makers of this film really needed to practice their Satanic worship. Like for example, a guy orders a pizza with everything. 5 minutes later, a pizza guy shows up and says, “I got your double meat and cheese.” “Ah-ha!” I thought. “Here’s where we find out he’s one of the bad guys!” But no. The pizza guy leaves and without incident, and the flub was just bad writing.

This movie is, was, and forever will be, pure pain. Though I may have to make Cali watch it just so she can have flashbacks to being in LA.

And then the circus rolled into town. “Vampire Circus” is from 1972, and set in like middle 1800s Serbia. And “simply awful” doesn’t even come close to describing this flick.

Oh you!

Oh you! Stop it!

This one centers around a vampire who was a count who is preying on small children and wives of a small town (which is kind of silly, since this is the most “in the closet” vampire I’ve ever seen). They go after him and “kill” him, but as he dies he curses them. The town will die, their children will die, their flowers will die. We know, we know.

Mysteriously, 15 years later the town isn’t doing well. The neighboring towns have set up roadblocks on the roads to keep them isolated. And guess what rolls into town? A circus! Yay! Carnies always know how to have a good time!

Woo baby.

Woo baby.

The shows are little bit on the odd side, but no one seems to notice. For example, the painted woman and the guy with the whip … it’s more like the town is being subjected to a live sex show than anything I’ve ever seen at the circus. (And trust me, she’s nekkid as nekkid can be.) The crowd isn’t even the least bit suspicious when the performers transform into animals right in front of them. “Oh, he just turned into a bird! Great trick!” Wait? Really?

Oh, you are the man, Emil.

Oh, you are the man, Emil.

I think one of my favorite characters is Emil. He’s the leader of the circus who often tranforms into a panther and is, apparently, a sexual tyrannosaurus. If you’ve ever watched “The Young Ones,” he looks like Rick if you put a different wig on him, and make him a little dirty. And for 3/4 of his appearance, he doesn’t actually talk. He just stands and looks directly into the camera with a shit-eating grin on his face. That’s why I burst out laughing when the young girl he seduces yells at her mother “But Emil is so worldly! He’s not like the stupid boys in this village!” How would she know? He hadn’t even said anything yet!

The other part of this is when the vampires go for the neck. It’s not just a revealing of teeth and a seductive move toward the neck. Oh no, these guys actually bring their heads back, like they’re winding up, and then almost pounce on the neck. Twilight’s characters could learn a thing or two from these guys on how to be “swave” and “sophistimocated.”

Well, after this dip into the horrid end of the cinematic pool, I was pretty much good to go. Laughing that hard was really cathartic. When I rolled into work the next day, I told PPJ about them, since she’s a fan of bad horror, too. She was working an earlier shift, so when she got home, she decided to sit down with a bottle of wine and watch both of them.

Throughout the night on my Facebook and in various texts, PPJ was crying from laughter. At one point she said something to the effect of “I can die happy now.”  So, we’ll see how it’s changed her life when I roll in tonight.

Bad cinema. There’s an art to it, but when done right — it has the power to change lives.

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4 Responses to “Altering lives via bad movies”


  1. 1 Jenny Johnston
    August 2, 2009 at 1:41 am

    Emil IS so worldly. I hope I see his staring face in my dreams tonight…….

  2. 2 24hourstomidnight
    August 5, 2009 at 7:23 am

    I feel you on the “Why was this even made?” and “How far will this ridiculousness go?” questions. When watching a bad movie, I alway marvel that people came together – a writer, director, actors, crew, distributors, etc. etc. etc. – and made this happen. Didn’t they know they were making a bad movie? Did they care??

    -“24 Hours to Midnight: The Blog!”
    http://24hourstomidnight.wordpress.com

  3. September 25, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    Hahah thank you for a celebration of the idiocy that is Vampire on Bikini Beach. Possibly my favorite bad film ever in terms of sheer goddamned awfulness. I went on about it a while back over here.


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