Saturday, March 28, 2009

Fire Your Agent: Junk Cinema's Nuttiest Miscasting Coups

All actors long to show off their versatility, but sometimes they go too far and accept roles they have no business playing. Here is a short list of Junk Cinema's most memorable miscasting mistakes.

John Wayne in "The Conqueror"(1956)--Duke Wayne as the fastest sword in the east? Say it ain't so! In this Howard Hughes-produced and Dick Powell-directed would-be epic, Wayne is gussied up with racist eye make-up and a droopy moustache to play the scourge of Asia, Genghis Khan. Even worse than how Wayne looks is the dialogue he's given to say."I am Temujin-barbarian-I fight! I love! I conquer-like a barbarian!" Wayne sputters at one point. Later, when he kidnaps the equally miscast Susan Hayward (as Tartar princess Bortai), Genghis explains, "There are moments for wisdom...and there are moments for action-then I listen to my blood. I feel this Tartar woman is for me, and my blood says, 'TAKE HER!'" According to Alan G. Barbour, author of The Films of John Wayne, the Duke "simply shudders when anyone mentioned this film."

Elvis Presley in "A Change of Habit"(1969)--From the Duke we move on to the King. In his fruitless quest to be taken seriously as an actor, Elvis takes a break from such roles as a water skiing instructor and pineapple heir to portray an MD who runs a free clinic "In the Ghetto". It's there he administers to the most wholesome collection of junkies, hookers and gang bangers you can shake a stick at. Then one fine day up pops Mary Tyler Moore with two friends in tow. Naturally, Elvis assumes they are "Park Avenue types" wanting abortions. Perish the thought! They are actually undercover nuns assigned to help Dr. Elvis at his clinic. Hilarious complications ensue when Elvis and MTM fall in love. Believe it or not, "A Change of Habit" was supposedly based on a true story!

Marlon Brando in "Tea House of the August Moon"(1956)--Slicking back his hair, darkening his skin, slanting his eyes and adopting a racist accent, Marlon Brando is a wonder to behold as "Sakini" in this alleged comedy about the US occupation of Japan. Embodying every stereotype ever associated with people of Asian descent, Brando hops around like a demented flea as he under cuts Uncle Sam's attempts to bring western modernity to Okinawa. So what idiot cast Brando in this role? Brando himself! He'd seen the original production on Broadway and became obsessed with the part. Once it was his, he applied all his Method Acting techniques to the job at hand--with eye popping, jaw dropping results. The moral of this story? When the gods want to punish you, they give you what you want.

Donna Reed in "The Far Horizons"(1955)--Wholesome beyond belief Donna Reed is best remembered these days for her iconic TV show, but even she got bored with the sweetness-and-light rut studios often stuck her in. In 1953, Reed won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar as a hooker in "From Here to Eternity"--albeit a hooker who did needle point in her spare time and wore peasant blouses. However, Donna's greatest gamble to break her nice girl image was also her nuttiest: playing Sacajawea in a glossy retelling of the Lewis and Clark saga, "The Far Horizons". Coming across like the ultimate Camp Fire Girl's Leader, Reed's Native American guides a nit picking L&C to "the big salt water" and even has a fling with Charlton Heston's Clark, who calls her "Jane". The duo even plan to marry, but when Reed learns about what is expected of a white wife ("She runs her husband's home. Entertains his friends. Tries to make him happy and successful and proud of being married to her"), she heads for the hills. After this fiasco, Donna quit the movies to concentrate on her TV show. She did, however, develop a lasting respect for her character: Reed called Sacajawea "quite a gal".

Friday, March 27, 2009

Fire Your Agent: Junk Cinema Casting Mistakes

Fire Your Agent: A Roll Call Of Junk Cinema's Worst Miscasting Coups

Coming To A Theater Near You: Junk Cinema Ad Lines

"Beautiful Beyond Words! Awe- Inspiring! Vital! 'The Prince of Peace' Provides The Answer To Our Every Problem! Be Brave--Bring Your Troubles and Your Family to History's Most Sublime Event! You'll Find God--Right In There!"--"The Prince of Peace", which starred members of the Wichita Mountain Pageant and featured one Millard Coody as Jesus.

"SEE a Female Colossus...Her Mountainous Torso, Skyscraper Limbs, Giant Desires!"--"Attack of the Fifty-Foot Woman", starring Allison Hayes in the title role.

"Here is Your Chance to Know More About Sex. What Should a Movie Do? Hide Its Head in the Sand Like an Ostrich? Or Face the JOLTING TRUTH as Does 'The Desperate Women'"--It's hard to argue with the tag line for "The Desperate Women".

"Hoodlums From Another World On A Ray-Gun Rampage!"--"Teenagers from Outer Space", lovingly produced, directed, written, edited, filmed and scored by one Tom Graff who later dubbed himself "Jesus Christ II".

"An Astronaut Went Up--A "Guess What" Came Down! The Picture that Comes Complete with a 10-Foot Tall Monster to Give You the Wim-Wams!"--"Monster a Go-Go", a deeply confusing monster movie
from "The Wizard of Gore" Herschell Gordon Lewis.

"Not For Sissies! Don't Come If Your Chicken! A Horrifying Movie of Weird Beauties and Shocking Monsters! 1001 Weirdest Scenes Ever! The Most Shocking Thriller of the Century!!"--Ray Dennis Steckler is too modest when describing magnum opus "The Incredibly Strange Creatures who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-up Zombies".

"Scenes That Will Stagger Your Sight! Dancing Called Go-Go! Music Called Ju-Ju! Narcotics Called Bangi! Fires of Puberty! See the Burning of a Virgin! See power of Witch Doctor over Women! See Pygmies with fantastic Physical Endowments!"--"Kwaheri", a mondo documentary that bragged it was better than "a $10,000 vacation".

Say What: Great Lines from Junk Cinema

"I'm a tramp! And who's to blame? My father!"-- Barbara Stanwyck from "Baby Face".

"This stinkin' swamp water stinks!"--Nardo Gang leader Marie Windsor from "Swamp Women".

"Did you ever see a peace officer in a corset?"--new sheriff Beverly Garland in "The Gunslinger".

"One thing's sure. Inspector Clay's dead. Murdered. And somebody's responsible!"--brilliant police officer surveying the crime scene in Ed Wood's "Plan 9 From Outer Space".

"Mary, you're never gonna be happy if you're gonna be sad! Now you've got nice teeth and you took two years of French. So why not try to see the bright side of things!"--Shirley Temple's best friend offers her some sage advice in "That Hagen Girl".

"You dirty, filthy, perverted monster! You're the meanest, cruelest, most loathsome thing thing I've ever met!"-- Carroll Baker gives George Peppard what for in "The Carpetbaggers".

"These ties serve no functional purpose. Mars got rid of them 50 years ago as a useless male vanity"--A Martian fashion victim from "Mars Needs Women".

"He tampered in God's domain"--Harvey B. Dunn reflects on Bela Lugosi's mad scientist tendencies in "Bride of the Monster".

"Yes! To be like the hu-man! To laugh! Feel! Want! Why are these things not in the plan?"--anguished Ro-Man from Phil Tucker's "Robot Monster".

"Flag on the moon. How did it get there?"--Coleman Francis' voice over from "The Beast of Yucca Flats".

"Bevare! Bevare! Bevare of the big green dragon that sits on your doorstep! He eats little boys! Puppy dog tails! Big fat snails! Bevare! Take care! Bevare!"-- Bela Lugosi spouting off about something from Ed Wood's "Glen or Glenda?"

"They're more virulent than the Australian Brown Box Jelly Fish!"--Horrified scientist Henry Fonda reflecting on the killer bees headed our way in "The Swarm".

"What? Did you think we came in here to read?"--Ray Dennis Steckler's pal Harold's response when a sinister gypsy fortune teller asks if they want their fortunes told in "The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-up Zombies".

"Aw, man, you're jivin' me! Look, man, I don't mind bein' a vampire and shit, but this really ain't hip!"--An apprentice vampire comments on the down side of his new line of work in "Scream, Blacula, Scream".

"You're like my own personal brand of heroin"--Smooth talking "Vegetarian Vampire" Edward Cullen in "Twilight".

"I don't care about your heart! Only this body and what it can do for me!"--Tori Spelling's vicious pimp in "Co-Ed Call Girl".

"My motor never runs down. Would you like to look under my hood?"--Tura Santana, psycho tramp ne plus ultra, from "Faster Pussy! Kill! Kill!"

"Oh! To hell with 'em! Let 'em droop!"--Sharon Tate is bored with her work out routine in "Valley of the Dolls".

"Yonder lies de palace of my father the Caliph"--Tony Curtis, the Bronx-bred Arabian prince in "The Prince Who Was a Thief".

"Oh, papa! I just wanted to be bad--as bad as could be!"-- Teen tramp Diane McBain explaining her life choices to her bewildered pop in "Claudelle Inglish".

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Junk Cinema: Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Americans love movies. In 2007, the film industry grossed $42.6 billion dollars. For millions, movies are inextricably linked to their fondest memories: a first date, a favorite summer or an intense identification with a character who's struggles on screen mirror their own.

However, there is another type of movie in the cinematic universe and they also provoke powerful responses from their admirers: Junk Cinema.

These are films that fail on every artistic level, but are fun to watch and very easy to love.

The purpose of my blog Bad Movies and the Woman Who Loves Them is twofold: to awaken people to the joys of junk cinema and save our alternative video outlets.

Why should anyone care about about these movies? Because they are uniquely crafted creations you won't find anywhere else. Only in the nether world of junk cinema will you find film makers boldly go where no one has gone before: musical westerns with an all midget cast ("The Terror of Tiny Town", 1939), explore prehistoric feminism ("The Wild Women of Wongo", 1959) and allow both Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer to make jerks of themselves in the same movie ("The Island of Dr. Moreau", 1996).

And it is only in this alternative cinematic wonderland where you will find welders, fertilizer salesmen, frustrated accountants, angora-sweater wearing cross dressers and screenwriters calling themselves "Jesus Christ II" fulfilling their American Dream of becoming film makers.

Iconoclasts of the world, unite! Or, in the words of the late, great Bela Lugosi from Ed Wood's classic "Plan 9 From Outer Space", "Pull the string! Pull the string! A story must be told!"

Great Moments In Junk Cinema: A Hisorical Time Line

As long as there has been cinema, there has been junk cinema: movies that fail on every artistic level, but are fun to watch and very easy to love. Here are some--but by no means all--important moments in the wonderful, wacky world of junk cinema.

1929--The big screen version of "The Taming of the Shrew" starring the movies' first super couple, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, featured the credit line "By William Shakespeare with additional dialogue by Sam Taylor". Anybody know who Sam Taylor is?

1933--The release of "Baby Face". Barbara Stanwyck is a tramp and who's to blame? Her father! Watch Babs climb the corporate ladder--even though she can't type--and nail every guy she meets(including an unknown actor named John Wayne). A prime example of PreCode Hollywood or "Dirties Thirties" sleaze, movies like "Baby Face" were why The Motion Picture Production Code finally had to be enforced.

1934--Katherine Hepburn has the role of a life time as the "lying, stealing, singing, preying witch girl of the Ozarks" in "Spitfire". The tag line for this flick memorably asked, "Low down white trash? Maybe s0--but let her hear you say it and she'll break your head to prove herself a lady!"

1936--The release of "Marihuana, The Weed With Roots in Hell". Hopheads beware!

The release of "Cocaine Fiends". Cokeheads beware!

1937--The release of "Sex Madness". The perfect movie for anyone who thinks sex is dirty.

1938--The release of "The Terror of Tiny Town", the world's only musical western with an all midget cast. Features the timeless toe-tapper "The Wedding of Jack and Jill".

1939--The release of "Child Bride". A crusading schoolmarm works to have under age marriage outlawed among our cracker brethren. This flick was advertised with the tag line "When lust was just!"

1944--Sonny Tufts is proclaimed "The Male Sensation of 1944!"

The release of "Mom and Dad". Hey, all you abstinence-only educators! Think premarital sex is a new invention? Think again! Even "The Greatest Generation" had to face the horrors of unplanned pregnancy and venereal disease, as this junk gem dared to expose. While the plot of "Mom and Dad" is old hat (a gal ignorant of "the facts of life" has a wild night of passion ad gets a bun in the oven), it's the presentation that makes this flick a classic. Bracketing this cautionary tale is a stirring rendition of the National Anthem, a lecture on syphilis, "Fearless Hygiene Commentators" hawking safe sex manuals during intermission and the piece de resistance: a live birth. Now that's entertainment!

1945--The release of "Salome, Where She Danced", junk icon Yvonne deCarlo's greatest film. Check out the wise old Chinese gentleman who speaks with a Scottish burr.

1946--The release of "Duel in the Sun" also known as "Lust in the Dust". Watch Jennifer Jones (who won an Oscar playing St. Bernadette) sashay around the old homestead and ask bad seed Gregory Peck, "I wanna be a lady! Will ya learn me!"

1947--The release of "That Hagen Girl". Shirley Temple is Ronald Reagan's out-of-wedlock daughter? Say it isn't so! A misconceived comedy/drama that wrecked Shirl's career and didn't do much for Reagan's, either.

1949--Bette Davis schemes and sneers her way through "Beyond the Forest", where she shoots porcupines and utters her signature line, "What a dump!"

1953--The release of "Cat Women of the Moon" featuring "The Male Sensation of 1944!" Sonny Tufts. Look out for "The Hollywood Cover Girls as The Cat Women".

The release of "Robot Monster", whose critical and commercial failure drove creator Phil Tucker to a nervous breakdown.

1954--"The Male Sensation of 1944!" Sonny Tufts is sued by stripper Melody Carol, who claimed he took a bite out of her thigh. They settle out of court for $600.

1955--Paul Newman makes his cinematic debut in "The Silver Chalice" as a Greek slave named "Basil the Defender". The New York Times raved that his performance was "rarely better than wooden."

1959--Ed Wood releases his masterpiece "Plan 9 From Outer Space", voted the highly coveted "Golden Turkey Award" as the worst movie ever made. Winner and still champ!

1960--Elizabeth Taylor wins an Oscar for Best Actress for surviving a bout of near fatal pneumonia and an emergency tracheotomy--it couldn't have been for her acting in "Butterfield 8"(where she gets to screech, "Face it, mama! I was the slut of all time!"

1963--The release of "Cleopatra", starring Elizabeth Taylor and "the nympho of the Nile" Cleo and Richard Burton as Marc Anthony. This flick nearly drove studio Twentieth Century Fox into bankruptcy, spawned dozens of lawsuits, earned the condemnation of the Holy See (for the illicit Burton/Taylor affair) and handed Liz Taylor a million-dollar paycheck for her troubles.

The release of "The Rotten Apple"( AKA "Five Minutes to Love"), starring "Golden Girls" sexpot Rue McClanahan. The producers were so certain their leading lady was headed for super stardom, their ads screamed, "First Harlow! Then Monroe! Now McClanahan!"

1964--The release of Kroger Babb's "Kwaheri", the ultimate mondo documentary. This film was promoted with the fetching tag lines "The Film That Stretches Your Eyes" and "See Pygmies With fantastic Physical Endowments!"

1965--"Welcome to violence!" Russ Meyer releases his hot chicks from hell classic "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" featuring "Astro Zombies" starlet Tura Satana as the tough as nails leader of a gang of go-go dancing/drag racing/karate chopping psycho tramps. Watch her snap a guy's back in two like it was a bread stick!

The release of "Beach Blanket Bingo". Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello hit the beach for surfing, songs and plenty of sequels. Reportedly Walt Disney himself refused to allow "Mickey Mouse Club" star Annette to wear a bikini in these flicks.

1967--She's a grandma now, but back in the swingin' sixties Jane Fonda was "Barbarella", a dim bulb space case searching for mad scientist Duran Duran. The supporting cast includes Anita Pallenberg (sporting a black eye patch), John Phillip Law and mime Marcel Marceau as a dotty inventor.

1968--The release of "The Legend of Lylah Clare". Kim Novak plays a timid actress who becomes possessed by the spirit of dead actress Lylah Clare while playing her in the big screen adaptation of her life story. Confusing, badly dubbed and ends with the most terrifying dog food commercial you will ever see in your entire life.

A sad day in junk cinema: the release of "Cotton Pickin' Chickenpickers", the last screen appearance of "The Male Sensation of 1944!" Sonny Tufts. Features a gal named Susie Zickafoose and the song "Dirty Ole Egg Suckin' Dog".

Producer/director (and "Batman"s Mr. Freeze) Otto Preminger releases "Skidoo", a counter culture comedy where Jackie Gleason, Carol Channing and Groucho Marx(!) tune-in, turn-on and drop acid. A legendary fiasco--and you get to see dancing garbage cans!

1970--The release of "Myra Breckinridge". What do Raquel Welch, Rex Reed, Mae West, John Huston, Farrah Fawcett and Tom Selleck have in common? They all disgraced themselves in a flick hailed by Newsweek as "horrifying" and by Time as "so tasteless that it represents some sort of nadir in American cinema".

The release of "Love Story". Love may mean never having to say you're sorry, but the people behind this flick have a lot to answer for. Ali McGraw and Ryan O'Neil meet cute, marry, sweat the rent and when things finally perk up, she drops dead--of what, they never tell us. The only thing more nauseating than "Love Story" was its sequel "Oliver's Story".

1971--The release of "Fritz the Cat", the world's first X-rated cartoon. Promoted with the tag lines "He's X-rated and Animated!" and "We Ain't Restricted for Nothin' Baby!"

1973--The release of "Jonathan Livingston Seagull". I am not making this up: a movie about a malcontent seagull who wants to find the meaning of life. As our hero whines to his dad, "There's got to be more to life than fighting for fish heads!"

1974--The release of "Zardoz". Set in the not-too-distant future, Sean Connery (007 himself) runs around in a red jock strap while dodging Brutals, Immortals, Apathetics and a gigantic floating head, which spouts every gun nut's motto: "The gun is good! The penis is evil!"

1975--Dubbed "The Big Blooper of 1975", "At Long Last Love" unleashed the signing and dancing skills of Burt Reynolds and Cybill Shepard. Mastermind Peter Bogdonovich had his cast sing all their sons live and even considered playing the lead himself. His career has never recovered.

1977--The release of "The Exorcist II: The Heretic". The sequel to "The Exorcist" featured poor Linda Blair, Richard Burton, the demon "Pazuzu" and some deadly grasshoppers. This movie almost beat out "Plan 9" as the worst film of all time according to "The Golden Turkey Awards".

The release of "The Car". Future "Hotel" star (and Barbra Streisand hubby) James Brolin battles a demonically possessed car who chases after high school bands and spins donuts on peoples' lawns. UNFORGETTABLE HIGHLIGHT: Brolin screams to his hysterical wife, "The Car is in the garage!"

The release of "Empire of the Ants". Joan Collins is menaced by fiberglass ants and--the horror! the horror!--is forced to wear only one ugly outfit for the entire picture. Joanie admitted in her memoirs she did this movie for the money and even had to do her own stunts. What a trooper!

1978--The release of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band". Long hairs Peter Frampton and the BeeGees in a rock musical based on the same titled Beatles album. All four of them are promptly upstaged by the world's largest fake hamburger.

1980--The release of "Can't Stop the Music". The Village People, Bruce Jenner, Valerie Perrine and the relentlessly repulsive Steve Guttenberg in a disco disaster directed by Nancy Walker. Stupefying badness like this doesn't come along every day--catch it if you can!

The release of "Xanadu". Roller skating Greek muse Olivia newton-John crashes down to earth--and takes her film career with her. The really horrible part is watching Gene Kelly leading hordes of roller disco fanatics yelling "HO!" over and over again as they circle the roller rink. The ELO soundtrack is pure headache fuel.

Neil Diamond appears in the second remake of "The Jazz Singer". watching Neil croon "Love on the Rocks" is bad enough, but watching (and hearing) Laurence Olivier (as Neil's rabbi dad!) moaning, "I hef no zon!" in an outrageous Yiddish accent is too much.

1981--The release of "Mommie Dearest". Christina Crawford's tell-all comes to the big screen with Faye Dunaway in the title role as movie star/child abuser/monster Joan Crawford. Dunaway's career never recovered after she uttered the famous line, "No wire hangers--ever!"

1982--Pia Zadora (who made her cinematic debut in "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians") wins the "Best New Star" statuette at the annual Golden Globes ceremony.

The release of "Inchon". Lovingly conceived, written, produced, directed, financed and promoted under the watchful eye of Moonie leader Reverend Sun Myung Moon, this flick featured yet another outrageous Laurence Olivier performance: this time as Gen. Doug MacArthur! Newsweek declared "Inchon" was "a turkey the size of Godzilla".

The release of "Beastmaster". A true classic! Hunky Marc Singer (who's surrogate mother was a cow--honest!) can talk to the animals and "Charlie's Angels" also-ran Tanya Roberts is his slave girl true love. This flick played so much during the early days of HBO that wags claimed HBO didn't stand for "Home Box Office", but "Hey! Beastmaster's On!" The entire human cast of this film, which includes Rip Torn, are completely upstaged by the acting talents of Singer's pet ferrets.

1984--The release of "Dune". If anyone can tell me what the hell this movie was suppose to be about, I'd really appreciate it. Sting does appear in his underwear, however.

1986--The release of "Howard the Duck"--a truly fowl picture.

The release of "Under the Cherry Moon", starring Prince--a bad moon rising indeed.

The release of "Shanghai Surprise", starring Madonna (as a prim and proper missionary) and then-husband Sean Penn. Need I say more?

1988--The release of "Maximum Overdrive". Stephen King (who wrote and directed) called this flick "a moron movie"--but he's being way too generous. if you don't blink, you can catch the second Mrs. Donald Trump, Marla Maples, get offed by a watermelon.

1991--The release of "Hudson Hawk". A loud, smug, obnoxious, stupid, unfunny, vulgar, gross infuriating waste of film stock. Brought to you by the loud, smug, obnoxious, stupid, unfunny, vulgar, gross and infuriating Bruce Willis.

1995--Cindy Crawford adds her name to the always expanding list of super models who can't act by appearing in "Fair Game". She meets her match in Billy Baldwin, who can't act either.

1997--The release of "The Postman". Neither rain, snow, sleet, hail, high winds, burning sands, raging rivers, nuclear fall out or pot apocalyptic baddies can keep Kevin Costner from his appointed rounds. mark this movie "Return to Sender".

2000--The release of "Battlefield Earth". a deeply weird and often gross sci-fi fantasy brought to you by John Travolta with a little help from his good buddy (and Scientology founder) L. Ron Hubbard. it makes "Dune" look like "2001: A Space Odyssey".

2001--The release of "Glitter". Mariah Carey joins that elite sorority of female singers who can't act with this sappy film flop. This movie lasted ten seconds in theaters and that's 10 seconds too long.

2002--The release of "Swept Away". Madonna strikes again! The Material Girl is cast as a haughty heiress marooned on a deserted island with a studly deck hand in an ill-fated (but snicker filled) remake of the Line Wertmuller classic directed by then hubby Guy Richie.

2003--The release of "Gigli". it's a toss up which event was more welcomed by the beleaguered American public: the end of the Ben Affleck/Jennifer Lopez romance or the box office failure of their alleged comedy "Gigli". This film is simply beneath contempt. A plague on both their houses!

2004--The release of "Beyond the Sea". Crooner with a weak ticker Bobby Darin reportedly had a genius IQ, but you've never know it watching this bizarre vanity project by obsessive/compulsive fan Kevin Spacey. A better title for this flick would have been "The Toupees and I" because Darin is more traumatized by his receding hair line than learning his sister is really his mother. Besides butchering Darin's classics, "Beyond the Sea" features more crepe hair than a Shriner's convention and some of the spazziest dance numbers ever committed to film.

2005--The release of "The Dukes of Hazard". This movie, based on the car crashing TV series, is so rotten that my own brother could only stomach 20 minutes of it--an Arnold family record.

2007--The release of "Transformers". Once upon a time, in a land called Hollywood, people made movies with interesting characters, involving story lines and great dialogue. Not any more. This flick about a race of alien robots who disguise themselves as cars may have fancy CGI effects and explosions aplenty, but it is a prime example of how Hollywood has truly lost its way. Movies like "Transformers" are why I'd rather spend my time with Ed Wood: at least Ed cared about what he was doing!

The release of "The Invasion". Aliens have had many clever plans over the years to take over our planet, but conquering us through vomit is a first. This fourth quasi-remake of "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers" features Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig trying to stay awake while finding an antidote to defeat the puking hordes( hint: people who had a certain strain of chicken pox are our only hope).

The film career of Jessica Simpson. The long awaited successor to Pia Zadora has arrived! Any gal who considered the role of Daisy Duke in the big screen adaptation of "The Dukes of Hazard" a "dream role" is destined for junk cinema glory and the aggressively air-headed Simpson does not disappoint. Her movie "Blond Ambition" made a staggering $400 bucks after it was unleashed in 8 Texas theaters. Long may she reign.

The release of "10,ooo BC". Think our ancestors were stooped, grunting, hairy quasi-apes who picked lice off each other and flung pooh? Think again! They had six pack abs, cool dreadlocks, tweezed brows and refined speech. They hunted mastodons, befriended saber tooth tigers and fought against aliens who forced them to build the pyramids. Let me repeat the last part: they fought against aliens who forced them to build the pyramids. Fred and Wilma Flintstone, we hardly knew ye.

2008--The release of "Twilight". Fangs for the memories! Fashionably morose teenager Bella Swann falls in love with Edward Cullen, a "vegetarian vampire" with an aerodynamic bouffant, asymmetrical eye brows and ten tons of lipstick on his kisser. While the leads compete over who can be the most lifeless, viewers are treated to such zany highlights as a vampire baseball game. The laugh-till-you-snort dialogue includes such gems as "You are like my own personal brand of heroin!" and "I don't have the strength to stay away from you!"

Great Moments in the History of Junk Cinema

As long as there has been cinema, there has been junk cin

Great Moment in Junk Cinema History

Handy Dandy Junk Cinema Terms

For those of you taking your first faltering steps in the world of junk cinema, here are some essential terms to ease you on your way.

Poverty Row--Not an actual street or geographical area, but a slang term describing Hollywood's small time movie studios like Republic, Monogram, Mascot and Chesterfield. The term came about in the silent era and it referred not only to the low rent quality of the films they churned out, but also to their no-name casts and long work hours they demanded(20 hour days were common).

"B" Movie--"B" stands for budget. All the major Hollywood studios had "A" units (big budget movies with big name stars) and "B" units (low budget movies with no-name or second string stars). However, some movies that were conceived as "B" pictures went on to be classics: "Casablanca" (originally titled "Everybody Goes to Rick's" starring Ronald Reagan), "It happened One Night" (first called "Night Bus"), "Marty" (based on a TV movie), "Rosemary's Baby" and "Easy Rider".

Exploitation Films--Cheap, quickly made flicks meant to capitalize on sensational newspaper headlines or subjects. Classics of this genre include "Test Tube Babies" (about artificial insemination), "Child Bride" (under age marriage) and "Glen or Glenda?" (sex change operations).

"Filmed in..."--In order to get patrons into the theaters, many junk cinema entrepreneurs bragged that their films were shot in the latest technological advances such as "Hallucinogenic Hypnovision", "Emergo", "Psychorama", "Percepto" and best of all "Glorious Small-O-Vision!" (for the 1960's flick "The Scent of Mystery").

B Movie Star--If a movie features anyone of these folks in the cast, you can guarantee it's a junk jewel: John Agar, John Carradine, Kenne Duncan, Arch Hall, Jr., Duke Moore, Tor Johnson, Sonny Tufts and Timothy Farrell for the gents and Dolores Fuller, Beverly Garland, Tura Santana, Allison hays and Yvonne deCarlo for the ladies.

Trash--According to the dictionary, trash is "any worthless, unnecessary or offensive matter". Films based on the works of Harold Robbins or Jacqueline Susann are excellent examples of trash.

Schlock--From Yiddish origins, schlock is "something cheap, shoddy or inferior". The films of Ed Wood, Coleman Francis and Arch Hall, Sr. fall into this category.

Potboiler--Any cut rate book, play, opera or film that was churned out quickly to pay for the author's living expenses. "Boil the pot" actually means to provide one's livelihood.

Grindhouse--A movie theater that showed mainly exploitation films, often in double or triple features.

"Blaxploitation Films"--Films made by and for African Americans. Their hey-day was in the late 1960's and early 1970's. Most of their plots revolved around "sticking it to The Man" through cunning and violence. Classics of this genre include "Shaft", "Sweet Sweetback's Baadassss Song", "Superfly", "Black Caesar" and "Blacula".

"Sexploitation Films"--The title pretty much says it all. These movies existpurely to show graphic sex and (mostly) female nudity. Russ Meyer is perhaps America's most famous sexploitation director.

"Mondo Films"--These films are also known as "shockumentaries". They specialized in sensational topics, exotics customs and gruesome death rituals. The best known examples of this genre are the "Mondo Cane" series and "Kwaheri", a weird documentary that claimed patrons would see, among other delights, "frantic virgins" dancing "in the fires of puberty" as well as "giant snakes swallow(ing) animals whole". The producers of this flick were so confident audiences would love this movie that they claimed it was "better than a $10,000 vacation".

PreCode Hollywood--A brief period (1930-34) in Hollywood history when the movies were awash in sex, drugs, sex, adultery, sex, vice, sex, violence and sex, sex, sex. Some of the best examples of this era are "Baby Face", "Red Dust" and "Murder at the Vanities", a musical/mystery which featured the production number "Sweet Marijuana".