First, some background on this proud tradition, to which I have previously alluded but which I have never fully explained: Bad Movie Day. Brought to Biloxi by my friend Will Chrysanthos and carried on by Will, myself, Jesse Weber, KC Flaker, and other Bad Movie aficionados, Bad Movie Day is a glorious celebration of all that is BS. It is not exaggeration to say that it has completely ruined my taste in movies.
Not just any movie can be a Bad Movie. High-budget movies can be bad, but a true Bad Movie must be low- or at most medium-budget. It must lack some or most of the following qualities: credibility, technical execution, cohesion, depth, realism, production value, acting, plot, and so on. It will usually fall into genres like action, science fiction, horror, or exploitation. In short, Bad Movies are movies that require great moral fortitude and strength of character to watch. Luckily, we possess these qualities in abundance.
Of course, Bad Movies differ in degree of badness. Luckily, we have the Bad Movie Scale, a six-tiered system designed to rank movies for our own personal catalogue and to guide wary beginners. As described by Will: “Suffice to say that First and Second tiers must be watched by anyone who sincerely wishes to learn. Third and Fourth tiers should also be watched, if only to better appreciate Ones and Twos. Fifth and Sixth tiers are better left alone unless you have a serious masochist streak.” In more detail, Ones vie for the title of Best Movie Ever Made (this does not disqualify them from being Bad Movies). Twos are excellent and worth watching more than once. Threes are still good, but, as Will says, “We’re plunging into irony here.” Fours definitely do not bear rewatching. Fives suck. And Sixes are a “complete waste of life and will embitter you towards all of humanity.”
Plot: Mars needs men. For reasons not entirely clear, a caped Martian woman (“Nyah”) picks a remote British inn as the place to land and find a fit specimen to bring home for reproductive purposes. This movie is all about the characters: an uptight leather-clad alien, a grouchy astronomer, a journalist-slash-Casanova, a stuck-up society girl, a bumbling innkeeper — what’s not to like? Even Nyah’s refrigerator-like robot servant has its moment. Features an entirely unnecessary romantic subplot between the barmaid and an escaped, but apparently innocent convict (who knows? who cares?).
Best quote: Michael: “Mrs. Jamieson, may I introduce your latest guest. Miss Nyah. She comes from Mars.” Mrs. Jamieson: “Oh, well, that’ll mean another bed.”
Most implausible moment: For someone so fearsome, Nyah’s robot’s remote control gets taken from her with remarkable ease.
‘Gratuitous Hotness’ bonus: ½ (out of 1 possible). The Devil Girl From Mars may have been devilish by 1950’s standards, but despite her sweet leather suit and cape, this just wasn’t enough to redeem the movie.
‘Gratuitous Violence’ bonus: 0 (out of 1 possible). Nyah’s ray gun makes people disappear without a trace. Wow, I wonder how they achieved that stunning effect.
Final score: 4 (6 is worst). Clearly a better title than movie.
Plot: Aliens land on Earth in search of grazing land for their Gargons — huge, man-eating creatures. But handsome young alien Derek’s conscience kicks in, and he escapes to live among the humans, where he falls in love with the beautiful Betty. Pursued by a murderous former crewmate intent on capturing or killing him, Derek must find a way to stop the aliens’ plan to bring thousands of Gargons to Earth, while eluding capture, seducing Betty, and defeating an escaped Gargon. Which looks remarkably like a lobster held up to a projector.
Best quote: Thor: [Running around.] “I will find you. I will find you. I will find you. I will find you.” [Runs into wall.] “Ahhhhhhggg.”
Most implausible moment: Definitely the final boss fight in which Derek hooks his ray gun into the power lines while Betty calls the electric company from a roadside phone to ask them to boost the power. All to defeat a giant lobster.
‘Gratuitous Hotness’ bonus: ½ (out of 1 possible). Something for everyone here. Betty’s quite a looker, there’s a great swimming pool MILF scene, and the aliens are some pretty studly dudes themselves. Still the 1950’s, though.
‘Gratuitous Violence’ bonus: ½ (out of 1 possible). Okay, this ray gun is pretty awesome. Sure, it breaks when dropped. But more importantly, it turns people into skeletons.
Final score: 2½ (6 is worst). This movie started out unpromisingly, but it quickly redeemed itself. Half cheesy sci-fi movie, half innocent romp through 1950’s America.