5 Signs That You're Watching the Awesome Kind of Bad Movie

#2. They Should Give Us Insight into the Creator's Insanity

If truly good-bad movies aren't produced by the Asylum or the like, who makes the damn things? They're almost always produced by people who thought they were making good movies.

No matter what good-bad movie you're talking about, there was at least one person on set who thought that the movie is going to be great. In Troll 2, it was the Italian husband-and-wife director-writer team, who wrote their script in English despite hardly speaking the language. In The Wicker Man, it was Nicolas Cage, who poured everything he had into that scene with the bees. In The Room, it was director Tommy Wiseau, who seemed to think the story he was telling was a life-changing masterpiece.

Via Britmovie
"Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against- oh ... hi, Mark!"

No one involved in 2-Headed Shark Attack thought their movie was going to be great. Good-bad movies, on the other hand, have an innocence behind them that is almost endearing. We all like to watch movies that give us a peek into the minds of people completely unlike ourselves. Through the magic of cinema, we can experience life as a serial killer or a narcissist or a madman or someone from Canada. But most of these movie experiences are filtered through the viewpoint of a completely sane director and cast. Good-bad movies cut out this middleman and plug us directly into the brain noise of someone who thought that this was how Americans play football.

Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images
He didn't even get the number of horses right.

Which is why, when Birdemic 2 was released in 2013, it just wasn't as enjoyable as the original. Director James Nguyen made the sequel years after his movie had been proclaimed one of the worst ever made, long after even the densest ego could possibly believe that they were making another daring pro-environment masterpiece. The weird innocence of the original was replaced by a director adding zombies and shit in an actual attempt to be bad, and that's just not as fun.

#1. They Should Teach Us a Lesson

No matter what you do for a living, you've probably experienced people underestimating how difficult your job is. If you have a degree in cat shaving and 10 years of experience shaving cats at your cat-shaving business, customers will still tell you that you're shaving cats wrong. If you are a professional Frisbee player, you'll have to deal with random people telling you that they could totally personally improve on your Frisbee technique, if only they chose to get up and throw the Frisbee rather than sit on the sidelines eating a waffle taco.

Hemera Technologies/AbleStock
"For one thing, you're clearly a dog."

This attitude is particularly common when it comes to creative stuff. A friend dismisses your life-size mural of a kitten riding a dragon; they could do it better, you know, if they wanted to. Relatives claim that playing the harmonica must be easy because you do it so well, ignoring all your long nights slaving away at harmonica school. Movie making is no different: A lot of people have the attitude that a director just points cameras at stuff, and everything else works itself out.

This is where bad movies come in. Most good-bad movies were made by the film industry version of the waffle-eating guy picking on your Frisbee game. For example, rumor has it that the famed 1966 good-bad movie Manos: The Hands of Fate was actually the result of a bet somebody made with the director after he boasted that movie making was no big deal, anyone could do it. The result was this:

Watching Manos is like attending a reverse filmmaking school. It's a level of bad that most of us non-filmmakers never imagined could exist, because we've never seen that far behind the scenes of that particular creative process. Moths fly at the screen because of the lights the crew was using at night. Entire scenes are out of focus. Whole shots are blocked by the back of an actor's head. Manos is an extreme example, but most good-bad movies tend to have been vomited out by people who both overestimated their own skills and underestimated the difficulty of making a good film. Watching these movies is like vicariously dragging Waffle Taco Guy up and forcing him to throw a Frisbee at a professional level, and then watching him cry as his Frisbee goes off course and knocks over a fruit stand.

Furthermore, good-bad movies teach us to appreciate qualities in movies that were formerly invisible. Sure, they have a whole Oscar category for sound mixing, but if you really want to appreciate what good sound mixing does for a movie, watch this scene in Birdemic fail at it. We might laugh at a wooden performance or two in a blockbuster, but we don't realize just how good most actors in movies are until we watch The Room. Sure, the last Hobbit movie kind of sucked, but at least no one got hit in the face with a boom mic.

C. Coville has a Twitter here and a Tumblr here.

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