By Peter Joseph Swanson
I've been a fan of bad movies ever since watching "Mystery Science Theater 3000" on Comedy Central in the early 90s. Before that I might have been a fan of some bad movies without realizing it. But after that I started to realize what fun it could be to appreciate the badness of certain movies in an ironic way.
It's the same appreciation at work here in Peter Joseph Swanson's "Bad Movies." Like many a Hollywood story, this begins with a young girl arriving in Tinseltown to make it big. Her name is Jill and she hails from the tiny town of Plaksville. Unlike other girls who arrive in town with stars in their eyes Jill is hiding a dark secret--only she doesn't realize it.
It isn't long before Jill stumbles into a homosexual photographer who wants to take pictures of her. These wind up in the hands of a smut magazine peddler named Snako, who at a bargain basement version of a Playboy party is murdered by a creep in a rubber mask. Despite this setback, Jill finds shelter with writer/producer Bod, who finds her work at the Film Farm, an actual farm that produces the kind of campy, homemade cinema that would make Ed Wood proud.
As Jill becomes Jilly and rises to a sort of infamy, her dreams of stardom are tarnished by the evils of Hollywood and the psycho killer in the rubber mask, who seems intent on murdering everyone Jill knows.
Overall the story is a fun read. Like the dreadful "Turtasaur" Jill makes, it's more guilty pleasure reading than hoity-toity "art." Despite the fact that Jill is a clueless ditz, it was impossible to root against her in her misguided quest to become a star.
I only have two relatively minor complaints. First, the subplot with the silent movie star Dunkel (I won't try spelling her last name) didn't really seem to go anywhere. Second, I would have liked some more bad movies in "Bad Movies." The bits about how the crew at the Film Farm create their "monsters," sound effects, costumes, and sets are hilarious.
Still, no one who appreciates really bad movies should pass up reading "Bad Movies."
That is all.