The Bad Movie Bible: Glorious Tribute to Dodgy B Movies

The Bad Movie Bible

Terrible B movies are compelling us of late. And we don’t mean The Room (2003) or the absurdity of Samurai Cop (1991), which are the most obvious choices for online geeks like us.

No. We’re on about Rob Hill’s excellent The Bad Movie Bible, which you can find on YouTube. He’s done a book to go with that, although it appears to be out of print right now.

There’s something weirdly entertaining about a so-bad-it’s-good kind of B movie romp. And Hill’s channel has turned it all into a glorious artform, totally worthy of us dedicating some time to celebrate it all.

Welcome to the The Bad Movie Bible

Rob Hill makes it clear there what he’s all about! He has books out, but it seems films studios aren’t happy about that. And so he’s found a wider outlet on YouTube.

On his channel, you’ll find an increasingly sprawling documentation of terrible films. Most of them dating from the 1960s through to the early 2000s.

For the uninitiated, this may seem a bit off.

Why would film buffs want to watch awful films? On so many levels it may seem counterintuitive, as if they’re mocking their own hobby.

Why do people like bad movies, then? Plenty of theories abound. The 2013 book The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero led us to discover more about this artform.

The book is about the 2003 “worst movie ever made” The Room.

There we go then, educational stuff. The key takeaways are:

  1. Bad movies enter the category of paracinema—outside the mainstream.
  2. Specially, bad films are “trash films”—low budget genre films with amateurish qualities (B movies and the like).
  3. People like bad movies as they’re:
    1. Transgressive in their nature with social attitudes and norms.
    2. Subversive with filmmaking norms.
    3. Divorced from reality and rather amusing due to that.

Basically, a lot of people watching crap films take an ironic viewing stance.

These bad media texts are curiosities—you can see this in other mediums, such as video games. The Angry Video Game Nerd makes his career out of reviewing frustratingly crap retro gaming titles.

What The Bad Movie Bible does is make an encyclopaedia of these films.

Documenting even the most obscure low budget and/or bad films from decades gone by. Many of which were long forgotten to time, but are now back amongst us with cheesy dialogue and hammy acting.

It’s kind of like Annie Rauwerda’s Depths of Wikipedia, but with an emphasis on amusing bad films. Such as 1996’s Skyscraper, with the notorious Anna Nicole Smith delivering an Oscar winning performance (NOT!).

Asides from the amusement factor, we find it all rather fascinating. As Hill notes, most films (and music, books etc.) are soon forgotten filler.

Not many media texts light up the public imagination and get widespread recognition. Especially if they’re, you know, a bit shit.

The essence of making these films, often on restrictive budgets that hold the production back from hiring better actors and whatnot, is aspiring to greater things.

Everyone has to start somewhere. A classic example is one Steven Spielberg (you might have heard of him).

Aged 17, Spielberg’s first film was Firelight (1964). He had a budget of $500. It made $501 at the box office. It was only shown at one local cinema. He later said:

“I counted the receipts that night. And we charged a dollar a ticket. Five hundred people came to the movie and I think somebody probably paid two dollars, because we made one dollar profit that night, and that was it.”

There are only a few short minutes of that film available to watch. After Spielberg became wildly successful, he included many of Firelight’s themes in 1977’s classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Now, not every B movie cast and crew will reach such heights. Most people will slip off into obscurity and nothingness.

But the point is to have a go. Why not? That’s one of the main themes of the 2009 documentary Best Worst Movie, which is about 1991’s Troll 2. The one with this bit in it.

In Best Worst Movie George Hardy, who plays the father in the film, notes he starred in it to give acting a try. What’s the worst that could happen?

In this instance, he’s found cult fame by appearing in a terrible film.

To make good things, at first you may have to make bad things. We all have to start somewhere. Spielberg knew it. Other directors, such as Evil Dead 2’s Sam Raimi, knew it.

And you reading this know it to be true, too! It’s part of the creative process. You have a go, finish something, maybe you’re unhappy with it… but then you do something else. Maybe this one is the golden gem!

Rinse and repeat until you’ve got a masterpiece on your hands. Simples.

Borrowing Blockbusters

The most entertaining (and enthralling) videos on Bad Movie Bible appear in the Borrowing Blockbusters series.

Basically, these showcase all the copycat films following in the path of smash hit blockbusters such as Spielberg’s Jaws (1975) and Cameron’s The Terminator (1984). Some of them are so blatant with their plagiarism it’s amazing the makers weren’t sued.

Hill’s thorough research into these is a marvel.

As is his capacity to sit through the things (often bad, bad films) to watch every moment of them. Sometimes just to pick out a couple of seconds of amusement from some random scene in some distant rip-off schlock.

If you’re a film buff, this channel is mana from Movie Land.

Catching Up With Rob Hill

Hill is more and more active on YouTube these days and he’s turned up on another of our favourite film channels. That’s Oliver Harper’s retrospective reviews.

The pair already has a few commentaries on bad B movies, most notably with 1992’s bizarre Rutger Hauer fest Split Second. It features a young Kim Cattrall of later Sex and the City fame (see what we mean?! Aspiring to greater things!).

Split Second encapsulates everything wrong, yet glorious, about B movies.

Rutger Hauer, so superb in Ridley Scotts’s Blade Runner (1982), phoned in his performance for this one. Apparently, he was only on set for a few weeks.

And the film makes no sense—it has a Waterworld (1995) concept. London is supposed to be flooded. But it never appears flooded and you often see the cast driving around a damp and drizzly London (it rains a lot in England) as if that’s supposed to make up for the lack of total flooding.

And Hauer’s character goes around constantly smoking beefy cigars, munching on them and making a big deal of it all the time. It really annoyed us, but also it was enthralling. Like, just constant cigars.

Shouldn’t they all be sunk underwater? Who’s making them?!

Hill’s thorough approach to all of this is a joy for us. It’s all in good humour and his sardonic approach makes for great entertainment. Give his channel a follow if it’s your kind of thing.

Dispense with some gibberish!

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