The Greatest Bad Movies of All Time
by Phil Hall
Since the publication of The Fifty Worst Films of All Time in 1979, the field of bad movies has been pretty well mined. In fact, it is a wonder anyone can compile a bookful of titles that hasn’t been exhausted. And honestly, what else can really been said about Plan 9 from Outer Space or Manos, the Hands of Fate that hasn’t been said before?
Luckily, Phil Hall’s collection of reviews, The Greatest Bad Movies of All Time is able to rise above the glut of titles celebrating bad movies and present 100 movies seemingly designed just to baffle, confuse, and outrage audiences.
For the most part, Hall is able to stay away from perennial favorites, although when tackling the “Worst movie of all time,” Plan 9 from Outer Space, he offers a spirited defense as to why the flick doesn’t deserve the distinction. Sure, it’s a bad movie, but nowhere as bad as say, The Giant Claw.
Hall also diverges from other bad movie books by including silent films, like a terrible-sounding version of Wizard of Oz from 1925, as well as documentaries, like Chariots of the Gods (OK, pseudodocumentaries), and arthouse fare like Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point.
Hall also includes some titles sure to spark discussion — in addition to Zabriskie Point, movies like Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work and Mystic River being included next to cinematic terrors like The Creeping Terror and The Hottie and the Nottie seem like provoking for the sake of provoking until you read Hall’s reasoning and reviews, and they all make sense, sort of.
Hall is an entertaining and thorough writer, and his reviews will make readers of The Greatest Bad Movies of All Time want to track down cinematic craziness like If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do? or The Dragon Lives Again, which is the secret point of bad movie books. Also, readers will come away with an appreciation of just how many stinkers Elizabeth Taylor starred in.
Marred only by a generic-looking cover design, The Greatest Bad Movies of All Time will be a welcome entry in the field of bad movie appreciation, and should be read by anyone with an interest in film.