As the ringleader of a bad-movie club that’s met for years–bonded together in horror–I’ve sat through literally hundreds of so-bad-they’re-great flicks that are as perversely entertaining as fiery car pileups. In the modern age, such dazzling stinkers as Showgirls, Glitter, Basic Instinct 2, and The Hottie and the Nottie have earned their place alongside more seasoned abominations like Boom (with Liz and Dick massacring Tennessee Williams in nice outfits) and Lost Horizon (the leaden musical with various Oscar winners Himalayin’ a bomb). But for me and some of my club, the all-time best/worst of the bunch are:
(1) Valley of the Dolls (1967). The flashy adaptation of Jackie Susan’s novel about three starlets on different colored pills, this one has crazy fashions, wacky music, and zippy dialogue like “That little whore makes me feel nine feet tall!” Come to think about it, there’s nothing really wrong with this movie at all.
(2) Walk on the Wild Side (1962). Picture Jane Fonda as a prostie named Kitty Twist, Capucine as a sculptor slash whore who’s possessed by madam Barbara Stanwyck (who occasionally remembers she has an amputee husband on a roller), and…Oh, you get the picture. Get THIS picture.
(3) The Manitou (1978). As I recall it, Susan Strasberg gets pregnant on the back of her neck with the reincarnation of a 400-year-old Native American medicine man. Tony Curtis and Burgess Meredith stop by to take care of the baby.
(4) And speaking of that, there’s The Baby (1973), in which Ruth Roman’s adult son is an arrested child who gurgles and wets himself while becoming quite the object of desire. Social worker Anjanette Comer tries to steal the “kid” away from his crib because her husband was infantilized in an accident and needs a playmate. I’m not making this shit up.
(5) The Room (2003). When Tommy Wiseau‘s sordid melodrama of romantic betrayal came out, audiences started hooting and hollering, so the dirty mess was rereleased as “a dark comedy.” And it is–but don’t laugh too hard or you’ll miss some choice dialogue. (“Lisa, you’re tearing me apart!”) Wiseau, it turns out, is a triple threat–he can’t act, write, or direct. As a result, he’s totally my hero.