Monday, August 22, 2005

Unintentional Comedy Gold

Fans of MST3K know as do many former Regent students that the unintentional comedy, though elusive, can often be more enjoyable than an intentional comedy. Today, I give you two enjoyably awful movies of my youth. Now when your friends have a “bad movie” party you will be well prepared.

Mac and Me

Plot: “A NASA probe lands on an alien planet. While taking soil samples it accidentally sucks up a family of aliens. On Earth the aliens flee in the confusion. Separated, the baby of the family hides in the van of Janet Cruise and her two sons as they make their way to a new home in Sacramento. There the baby alien comes to befriend the youngest wheelchair-ridden son Eric.”

This grand E.T. rip-off was apparently sponsored by Coke and McD’s. You see Coke brings the aliens back to life. Genius! Then halfway through the movie there is a bizarre break dancing scene in a McDonald’s involving the baby alien dressed as a teddy bear. I would love to tell you about the last scene in which the alien family is sworn in as U.S. citizens, but I don’t want to ruin it all. The eldest son is played by Charles in Charge’s Jonathan Ward. He was one of the Pembroke kids before they sold the house and Scott Baio to the Powells. Yes, I am embarrassed that I know that. Yes, I realize white slavery is not a laughing matter. Back to this gem of a movie. Included in this movie are creepy full on naked aliens. I mean adult naked aliens, and the kids wonder why the town goes into a panic. I will warn you about the climactic scene in which the aliens bring the lead kid back to life. You may start laughing at the fact that they bring the boy back to life, but can’t make him walk again. I know I was going to make a joke about it here. Well it turns out that the lead actor is actually paralyzed in real life. No, it still doesn’t excuse his awful acting, but if you laugh it basically means you have no soul. Fro the record, I apparenly have no soul.

Invaders from Mars (1986)

Plot: “Young David Gardner sees a UFO go down beyond the hill behind his house during the middle of a thunderstorm. In the morning David’s father goes to investigate and later his father insists on taking his mother behind the hill. After they return, both appear changed and behaving in very strange ways and David sees strange marks at the base of their necks. He confesses his story to school nurse Linda Magnusson and the two of them uncover a network of tunnels under the hillside, dug by invading Martians who are taking over the minds of the locals. Together they alert the military as the Martians, with an army of mind-controlled humans, try to sabotage a NASA Mars launch.”

This is the crappy remake of the 1953 original. I actually saw this pile in the theater. Dan O’Bannon, who wrote Alien, was one the writers. Stan Winston did the creatures. And John Dykstra, who was the effects supervisor on Star Wars, did the special effects. How could you go wrong? Well they did it wonderfully wrong. The movie was directed by Tobe Hooper. He had just followed up Poltergeist with Lifeforce. Don’t act like you don’t know the movie Lifeforce. It was played around the clock on HBO. It had the lady alien vampire that walked around naked for the first half of the movie. Go ahead. Keep denying. Anyway, this movie proves all the rumors about Hooper actually directing Poltergeist are possibly true. The first laughably bad thing in this movie is the lead kid. He is not in a wheelchair, so feel free to ridicule all you want. This movie also has Louise Fletcher eating a frog. Timothy Bottoms and Laraine Newman play the kid’s alien controlled parents. To round out the wonderful cast, Karen Black plays the school nurse. Can you believe this is the same actress who did “Five Easy Pieces” and “Nashville”? You know on second thought…The main problem with this movie is that it can’t decide if it wants to be a serious fright fest or a comedic jab at the sci-fi films of the 1950’s. Perhaps I should’ve known when the movie begins with a flashback of a flashback, but the twist ending even frustrated me as a 14 year old. On a personal note: The big hook line is “Let’s go over the hill.” This is what those brainwashed by the aliens would say to get the uninfected to join them. You see the aliens were on the other side of the hill, and…Ok, you get it. This became my own personal line of warning when trouble was ahead. The principal’s office, the showers in gym class, and Miss Bell's class were all on the other side of the hill for me.

There we go. Two quality movies high on the unintentional comedy scale. So, when you’re flipping through the channels and you see either of these listed stop and laugh for awhile. It will do you some good.

No comments: