The Golden Age of Crap

The Golden Age of Crap - Nathan Shumate Almost everyone has seen a movie that they say is "So bad it's good". A few of them may occasionally seek those films out. But there are a handful of fanatical B-Movie buffs who actively seek out terrible films. Not the "so-bad-it's good" ones but the movies that are "so-bad it's bad". You can place me in that category and certainly Nathan Shumate, the author of the very amusing The Golden Age of Crap.

Shumate makes the claim that the golden age of crap is from the 1980s through the 1990s when the advent of VHS allowed producers of cinematic ca-ca to distribute their movies out to a wider public than the theaters would allow. This is fairly indisputable, but I feel obligated to point out that the bad films of the 60s and 70s remain unsurpassed in their ineptitude thanks to the Grindhouse theaters and the drive-ins' need to show cheap double features. Really, is there any later movie that can equal the painfully excruciating awfulness of 1966's Manos: Hands of Fate? I don't think so. It would be fun to argue this with Schumate at a party while the normal people look at us with amazement and remove us from their Facebook friends list. But I digress...

Mr. Schumate has compiled 77 of his reviews from his web site Cold Fusion Video Reviews of movies from 1983 to 1998. All of these were on VHS video at the time. Many of them are no longer in release and all of them are from mildly bad to absolutely unwatchable. I have seen 10 of them which is about 9 more than the average person. I found this book to be a blast but even the non-fanatical movie lover will enjoy it. The reasons are three-fold.

1) The author loves his topic and it shows. I suspect this may put a serious wrinkle on the author's social life.

2). The author is a very good writer. He is also very funny. The worse the movie is, the funnier he becomes.

3). The author knows a lot about film-making. When he says a certain scene is bad, he just doesn't say "It's bad". He tells you why it is bad and often how a more talented filmmaker could have saved it. This would be a good book for any wanna-be movie maker if simply to learn what not to do.

And the films he reviews? They are bad but there are a couple ringers here like the the exciting Sci-Fi prison movie, Fortress. Some are definitely "So bad it's good" like Killer Klowns From Outer Space and The Mangler. The author and I share a love for Night of The Creeps, which probably makes us the only two in the universe who likes this film, but fervently disagree on others like Night of The Comet (I loved it) and Six-String Samurai (I hated it). Yet all the reviews are entertaining and full of interesting trivia and detail. I you are a B-Movie fan this is a must-read. If you still dwell in polite society, you will probably enjoy it too, then go back to watching The English Patient, you f------ snob.