Interview with Phil Hall – Author of The Greatest Bad Movies of All Time
By Christopher Duda (Sugarbuzzmagazin.com)
Sugarbuzz snow country
1. When did you initially get interested in movies and more specifically really good Bad Movies?
I can recall being intrigued with movies at the age of four – Disney’s “Peter Pan” in a theater, the Three Stooges on TV. I began to appreciate the anti-classics at around 8 and 9, when flicks like the musical “Lost Horizon” and the all-star disaster epics were in release.
2. Do you have a large collection of movies and do you still own a beta, or video disc players?
I have a large collection of VHS videos, and they are stored in a huge file cabinet.
3. Is there any movie or movies out there that you would love to obtain or just peruse but can’t seem to land a copy…?
The 1930 faux-documentary “Ingagi” and the 1973 musical “Catch My Soul” are two flicks I am very eager to see, but cannot locate.
3b) Why can’t you locate these movies?
It appears these films were never released in any modern home entertainment format; there were 16mm prints of “Ingagi” at one time. They are not lost; they are just unavailable.
4. What were the criteria for movies being included in your book and are there any movies you struggled with not including?
I was looking for the films that inspired wonder – literally, you wondered how the hell they ever got made. I didn’t want mere mediocrity – I wanted the brilliant warped endeavors that grab your attention and never let go, if only for the wrong reasons.
Limiting myself to 100 films and seeking to have a wide variety of films (silent movies, documentaries, animation, even a porno flick and a student production), it was obvious that some films would be cut. But I think this book is fully representative of the subject.
5. Did you have a lot of resistance to this book being published or people telling you that it can’t be done (based on your forward).
Not a lot of resistance, but there were a lot of suggestions on what should be included and what should not be.
6. Since the book has been out has there been a lot of disagreement over some of your choices and what were some of your more controversial choices?
Some people questioned the inclusion of “Mystic River,” but I feel it was the worst film directed by Clint Eastwood (who has directed an astonishing number of flops) and I tried to explain my feelings. A few people wondered why the student film version of “A Streetcar Named Desire” was included – but you must see this weird little flick to understand its inclusion. (You can find it on YouTube.) On the whole, most people have respected my choices, even if they realize it is based on my subjective judgment.
7. I noticed that a lot of well known actors also did some real stinkers. It seems that Elizabeth Taylor appears in a lot of bad flicks. Who would you say would take the reign for the most appearances in bad movies?
Sadly, Elizabeth Taylor seems to hold the crown here. Three of her films — “Hammersmith is Out,” “The Driver’s Seat” and “The Blue Bird” — are included in the book. Her presence became so great that I had to omit a few other flicks that she made, including “Cleopatra,” “The Sandpiper,” “Doctor Faustus,” “Boom!” and “Ash Wednesday” — otherwise, the book would have too much Liz.
8. It is interesting you have included a John Waters flick in your book (Dirty Shame). Isn’t he well versed at B movie bad movies such endearing him legions of fans?
Indeed, he is. “A Dirty Shame” is here because the film is so aggressively unfunny — it is like someone trying so hard to do a John Waters-style film and coming up painfully short. The film is truly the misfit of his canon, and except for one very brief sequence (the “Hokey Pokey” dance), it has no laughs at all. I included it here because it is such a shock that a funny man like Waters could make such a dud.
9. Where can we buy this book and are you working on a sequel??
It is available on Amazon, via the publisher BearManor Media, and other online retail sites. I have no plans for a sequel, if only because this is my sixth book in nine years and I want to take a rest.
Buy it at amazon.com