25 Years of Fantasy Swords in the Movies – A Retrospective

Who hasn’t been to the rental store, online or in the flesh, and picked up just about every good movie title and said, “I have seen that one already,” or “That does not look so interesting to me”? We all have. What can you do in those situations? That is easy! Instead of picking a good movie, pick the worst movie you can find!  123 movies

Change your expectation for the valuable features of the movie. It is easy to do and it will more than double the feature films available to you in the store! I liken t to becoming a vegetarian for a short period of time. If you have ever done that for personal or medical reasons, you know that when you first walk into a grocery store where you are used to buying bacon, hamburger, and chicken, suddenly the store takes on an entirely new stock of products that you never noticed before. This is exactly the same.

What most people look for in a good movie is a quiet viewing situation that allows for “suspension of disbelief” through excellent acting, high-dollar special effects, and well-written scripts that move the viewer somehow during the presentation. Well throw those ideals out the window and embrace their opposites and you may find that you have an entirely new way of viewing movies you originally despised because they were so horrid.

Perhaps a guideline definition of what constitutes a bad movie is in order. There are four types of moves out there.

1) Movies that are well funded, artsy, and well-executed that demand the standard viewing and appreciating methods we have all grown up using.

2) Movies that don’t have the budget or the writing to pull off being an art movie or top Hollywood film but come close enough that we still judge them with the same criteria.

3) Movies that try to present a high quality film using the meager funds they have available to them, but fail miserably.

4) Films that are out to create a bad movie experience and purposely try to simulate someone failing miserably, but often try too hard and end up making a film that is simply annoying.

What you want is number 3. They are easy to spot! The covers of the video will present the film very seriously. You may find standard Hollywood “one sheet” posters depicted one the front or somewhat exaggerated “cold-war” style proclamations in fonts that seem to jump off of the box stating the shocking contents of the G or PG rated films you hold in your hands. Some things to look for are the actors’ and director’s names. If you recognize some of them, are they young or working during a period of low income? If so, you are probably on the right track. If you haven’t heard of any of them, then you most definitely have found one to consider taking home!

Other clues include bad special effects proudly displayed on the container and classic plot lines like giant monsters, masked wrestler protagonists, and the underdog turning the tables on the powers that be in a ridiculous situation of some sort. Bad movies that provide untold hours of entertainment can fall into many categories, so there is always something for everyone. Gothic horror, Japanese rubber monster dilemmas, science fiction from the 1950s, saucy tales of nurses and flight attendants, stories of underworld dealings in ghettos and international spies are all story types that may well contain an awful movie plot that will keep you amused all night!

There are few limitations to the entertainment value of bad movies, but you have to be prepared to experience the bad movies in new ways. Expect that the movie will be so insanely absurd, that comments will be made during the film. For that matter, once you get used to it, the more comments the better. Witty movie viewers can be funnier than the movie itself, sometimes, so embrace that and enjoy the added voice-overs from the couch!

If you try to make sense of the movie that you are watching, give up now! One of the charms of bad movies is that they usually do not make sense. Looking forward to seeing just how much these films do not make sense is part of the fun!

Acting quality, either through the fault of the director or the actors’ inabilities to produce convincing portrayals is not to be looked down upon any more. Instead relish the poor acting and allow it to boost the entertainment value of the film.

Many bad movies may have been better if they had simply a higher budget. This will greatly increase the entertainment value of watching a bad film! Low budget special effects are the hallmark of rotten movies. Sure, we all like to see well-done laser blasts and make-up jobs, but it is truly a wonder to see how film makers get by with what they have available to them in a pinch. Scratching the film to create ghostly auras or taping paper mache prosthetics onto an actor’s face can make the movie that much more enticing if you view it with the correct attitude.

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