Sunday 30 July 2017

[Review] - The Bad Movie Bible

If you're looking for the definitive guide to some of the best bad movies of the last 50 years look no further than Rob Hill's "The Bad Movie Bible" (BMB). We've all heard the expression "so bad it's good" well in his book Hill takes a more detailed look at the moniker to challenge the notion of what makes a good movie bad which makes it good.Rob Hill knows a thing or two about this having worked over 15 years in post production on films such as "28 Days Later" and "Jupiter Ascending. Bringing his experience along with knowledge and passion for film into the fore Hill looks at this phenomenon  with an in depth analysis that is as a tongue in cheek as it is insightful.

It would be hard for some people to imagine that a bad movie can be enjoyed by so many. No doubt then that the idea of a book about bad movies would be practically unthinkable. Yet bad movies have become a phenomenon of the movie world to the point where an entire studio (The Asylum) is geared to making them. There are even special bad film clubs dedicated to screening the best of the worst. Now this might seem a little like I am deriding these films and the studios that produced them but nothing could be further from the truth as I love bad movies with "Battle Beyond The Stars" being my personal favourite. In fact Hill makes a similar confession that his stating a movie is bad is not on his part an attempt to snide or sneer. Far from it as one of the many impressions you get as you turn each page is Hill's love of these films. 

Hill's analysis from the start is fun to follow and highly informative as he blurs the absolutist line between good and bad. Challenging this notion when it comes to film is the perfect start with some great analysis balancing detail with humour, to what then becomes a surreal yet enjoyable ride. In looking at the films themselves Hill does more than just give opinions; he creates the BMB scoring system rating the films according to Cheese, Acting, Excess, Ineptitude and (my favourite) What? along with an overall score. The addition of his interviews with directors, producers and actors involved in some of those films is a real treat for film lovers in general and bad movie fans in particular. Nothing adds more depth than someone commenting on their own work that has been deemed "bad". 

So what titles can one expect to be featured in this hardback homage to the truly bad? From action to horror, even musicals (anyone remember "Can't Stop The Music"?) there is certainly much from which to chose. Yet no such book would be complete without featuring titles from the kings of cinematic schlock Menahem Golan and Yoran Globus the brains and brawn of Cannon Films, and fans will not be disappointed to see "Ninja III The Domination" and "Superman IV The Quest for Peace" to name a few included in the line up. The works of Roger Corman and Herschel Gordon-Lewis also get a look in but if you think the focus is on low budget independent films then think again; big studio productions get the BMB discerning eye such as Paul Verhoeven's "Showgirls" and the film that invokes nausea and rage amongst DC fans, "Batman and Robin." There literally is something here for lovers of every genre although one gets the feeling from reading this is the idea that perhaps bad movies should be a genre in their own right. Hill doesn't pull any punches in his analysis but throughout he remains true to his mission statement and keeps it all fun-filled and affectionate.

Film fans will enjoy this book and gasp with nostalgic wonder at the titles listed. The analysis and lovingly composed tongue-in cheek observations with interviews from the horses mouth - cast and crew of some of the films - makes "The Bad Movie Bible" akin to Kim Newman's encyclopedic love letter to horror that is "Nightmare Movies." and a must have addition to a film buff's library. 

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