Ann Hornaday Recommends
With last month's passing of Irvin "Shorty" Yeaworth, the auteur responsible for the schlock masterpiece "The Blob," it seems only fitting to eulogize him with a list of three movies that are so bad they're good. No doubt readers have their own guilty pleasures, but here are a few must-haves for the truly complete video library:
Boom! (1968, 110 minutes) -- This Joseph Losey cult classic features Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Noel Coward and a monkey in what is surely the most bizarre version of a Tennessee Williams play ("The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore") ever executed on screen. Recently given new life by tireless champion John Waters (who calls it "the best failed art film ever"), "Boom!" stars Taylor as Sissy Goforth, an ailing doyenne who's paid a visit by an attractive angel of death (Burton). It must be seen to be believed. (Contains adult situations and themes.)
Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959, 79 minutes) -- From Edward D. Wood Jr., the peerless director of movies so lowbrow they're high camp, "Plan 9" is the greatest pie-plate-spinning- on-a-string science fiction movie ever made. And how can you argue with dialogue like, "Modern women. They've been like that all down through the ages." Priceless.
Shakes the Clown (1992, 87 minutes) -- Bobcat Goldthwait's first, and mercifully last, directorial effort stars the filmmaker as a party clown who must deal with his inner demons while solving a murder -- posing as a dreaded mime. You'll love it, you'll hate it, you'll recognize the seeds of "Bad Santa" in it, but you won't be able to deny that "Shakes" is still, as one reviewer most aptly put it, "the 'Citizen Kane' of alcoholic clown movies." (Contains profanity and drug use.)