Having thoroughly enjoyed attending Bristol Bad Film Club I asked the guys a few questions. Why films when this is a book blog? Well as well as books I'm a keen film fan and occasionally do rant and/or froth on here about film ( you may remember this rant from May last year - http://brsbkblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/this-rant-may-contain-spoilers-if-you.html) Anyway without further ado here are Ti & Tim to tell you all about Bristol Bad Film Club:
Can you introduce yourselves and explain what the Bad Film Club is & where to find you on the net & elsewhere?
Tim: I'm Tim Popple, father of two, lover of bad puns, music administrator by day, self-confessed film geek by night.
Ti: Timon Singh. The mouth of the Bristol Bad Film Club. I'd say Tim's the brain... but I'll take that title too.
You can click through to bristolbadfilmclub.co.uk, follow us on twitter, @TheOtherBBFC, or like us on Facebook.
How did you guys meet and who came up with the idea to have a Bristol Bad Film Club?
Ti: We actually met via the Empire film forum, however a few years later Tim moved to Bristol and soon we were beering and filming together.
The idea for the bad film club was actually mine. It came to me after having a double bill of The Room and Samurai Cop with some friends in June. After becoming rather obsessed with The Room, I was upset that nowhere in Bristol appeared to do regular screenings of cult films. In London and other major cities, there appeared to be a cinema or community club that did something similar, so I thought we could do the same for Bristol. How hard could it be? Turns out it was rather complex...
What do you class as a proper bad film?
Tim: It has to be entertaining. It has to have tried. A film like The Phantom Menace is just bad. A film like Samurai Cop has tried to be a great film, and failed on every level, and through that failure has become immensely entertaining. We're laughing at the incompetence that has created these perfect storms of films, but we're doing it in a good-natured way.
The obvious question, that most people will want to know, is how do you choose the films? Have you got a list of possibles as long as your arm or do you choose them as you go?
Ti: I actually have a long list which I add to as and when I discover a potential gem. I actually like to watch bad films in my spare time. Either I host a bad movie night, where I show my latest discoveries to friends and gauge their reaction or I watch them alone, when my girlfriend has gone to bed.
The trick with picking a film is that it has to be both 'bad' and highly entertaining. There would be nothing worse than watching a bad film that wasn't amusing in any way and would just be a torturous 90 minutes.
What's been your favourite film you've shown so far (or is that like a parent trying to choose a favourite child?)
Ti: Samurai Cop. I love Samurai Cop so much. It's the film that just keeps on giving. Whether it's the awful wigs, the gratutious nudity or cars that explode for no reason, I can't not watch that film and be entertained. Before we screened the film last September, I'd probably seen it about three times. And I'd only discovered it four months earlier...
Tim: Starcrash. Everything about the screening was perfect. The film, which is such high camp, the audience, who reacted so brilliantly to everything, and the location at the Planetarium, which was a fantastic end to the year.
How many times have you watched the films that you show before the event itself?
Tim: At least one of us has always seen the films beforehand. We'd never show something "blind", without having vetted it to make sure it is entertainingly bad. In some cases, we've seen them many, many times. Possibly more times than is healthy...
What's the one film you have watched more than any other (doesn't have to be a "bad" film)?
Ti: Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Tim: Back to the Future.
What's the worst film you've ever seen and why?
Ti: Scary Movie 3. I was young, drunk and at uni and it seemed like a good idea at the time. It wasn't. How could David Zucker (The Naked Gun, Airplane!) fall so far?
Tim: Ever? Tough call. In recent years it was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which was made so very much worse because the people involved were all capable of so much better.
What's your favourite bad film and why?
Ti: It alternates between Samurai Cop and The Room, but for the sake of consistency, let's go with Samurai Cop! Where else can you see Robert Z'Dar hiding in a laundry basket to kill a witness in a hospital... despite the fact he's disguised as a doctor?
Tim: The Room. Since I first saw it, it's been The Room. It defies everything you expect in a film. It's brilliant. It's awful. It's perfect. It's an abomination.
What do you ascribe the success of the bad film club format?
Ti: Beer. Beer always helps. But truthfully, I think it's because we view our screenings as good old fashioned entertainment. We know the films we're showing aren't good, so it gives us more freedom to have fun with it. Couple that with beer and it's good times for all.
I like the fact that you do research and show other stuff beside the films (this is always entertaining) & you obviously have a lot of fun doing this but how much "work" is involved in each event?
Tim: Like an elegant swan, there's a lot of paddling beneath the water to ensure everything is smooth on top. Liaising with venues is the easy part. The obscurity of some of the films we show makes tracking down exactly who holds the screening licence a trial and a half. But we do this because we love these films; it's fun, not a chore, and that's all made worthwhile when we can see the audience reaction to what we've organised.
What makes these films so compelling? After all they may have bombed and be recognised as absolute stinkers but something elevates these particular films from merely bad films such as say Battlefield Earth (which many people say is a truly bad film, although I must confess I've not seen it)
Ti: I think films like Battlefield Earth fail for one or two reasons - it's often script or acting. Most of the time, big budget failures have a lot of things going for it, in terms of effects or production talent. However the films we show are often from the time when VHS was king, and a large number of cheap knock-offs were being made to compete with the blockbusters.
After all, if your dad is in the video shop, he's not really going to know the difference, at first glance, between Predator and RoboWar. They both look similar, have identical concepts, but whereas one is an action classic, the other was put together by people who had literally no idea what they were doing. And that's hilarious.
It's the fact that these films were rushed into production with no talent in front or behind the camera, but the intention was still to make a decent (or at least watchable film), that makes them such a trainwreck. Or in our case, goldmine.
Why do you think these films work best with a group of people?
Tim: I think Ti said it best with the one word answer, 'beer'. It's the shared experience of seeing something that you can't quite believe was made. The films are often so ridiculous, so unbelievable, that sharing it with others is the only way to make sense of it. And comedy always works better with company. And beer. Did we mention the beer?
How do you choose the charities you support with the club?
Ti: We know a lot of people involved in assorted charities, so again it's all about working down a list. Although many of our venues have charities that they'd like to support and we're completely ok with that.
With the advent of crowdfunding do you think that there will be a new era in bad films?
Ti: I think crowd-funding is great and it's led to the production of some films that really hark back to the classic 80s/VHS days - such as Kung Fury. However these films are more loving tributes to the genre instead of 'all-out dreadful'. I think as long as people want to make films, completely unaware of their own lack of talent, we'll always have bad films.
Seemingly SF & F spawn more bad films than other genres, why do you think this is?
Tim: SF and F inherently need a bigger budget, by merit of the effects that are needed. If you have no talent in front of or behind the camera, and a budget of £4.20, you're not going to get great effects. The result is, as you might expect, gold.
One of my"highlights" of bad film is bad dialogue - what film has the worst dialogue do you think? What's your favourite example of bad dialogue?
Ti: The Room's dialogue is bizarre as it sounds the script was written via Google Translate. However, that just makes it unique and hilarious (as well as stilted).
In terms of straight-up 'bad dialogue', it's often the phrases that just serve as pure exposition, such as the 'Solaranite' scene in Plan 9 From Outer Space.
Tim: This one really is like choosing a favourite child. Miami Connection, which we showed in January, has some awful "this isn't really exposition dialogue" examples, delivered woodenly. Each film has its own example of bad dialogue, but Starcrash has a winner for me, with, "IMPERIAL STARSHIP: HALT...THE FLOW OF TIME", for the sheer balls to introduce such an obvious deus ex machina in a phenomenally cackhanded way. It's also impressive.
So far there have been no zombie films, is that because they are too obvious? Are there any films or genres that you'll steer clear of?
Tim: When we find the right zombie film with the perfect balance of good intentions, bad execution, hilarious result, it'll be on the list... In terms of other genres? If it's bad and entertaining, then we're game.
What's next for the club? Tell us a little about the next film.
Ti: Currently, I'm still in the middle of trying to get permission for us to show it, but if all goes to plan, it'll be sharktacular.Many thanks to Ti & Tim. The next film to be shown is The Room on the 20th February - you can buy tickets here: https://ti.to/bristol-bad-film-club/the-room-screening