What experiment is defined by how horribly it was directed? Name the folks under “Directed by” who truly ruined or elevated their work to the next level. Harold P. Warren? Ed Wood? Who makes the grade?
Harold P. Warren is mine. Hard to top his written, directed, and acted credit on Manos (1966). Is for me anyway.
Harold P. Warren walked so Tommy Wiseau could do…whatever it is he does.
I’d go so far as to say that Bert I. Goron was not quite as good a director as his dear friend Orson Welles. But hey, he’s still going strong at 99 years old, so who knows what the future may bring?
Wiseau went further and unbridled. Tommy also lived in an era where he could be that indulgent. Warren trailblazed in a point where his no talent restricted him to Manos (1966) while today one could make it a career.
He’s an institution and his name stands for something. That’s more than some can say.
I want to say Coleman Francis, but it’s hard to judge whether it’s his directing on its own that’s bad but also his producing and writing.
Warren saved Manos by ruining it.
It was never going to be good, but it might have been much better without his interference. If it had not been as awful as it is, though, it would not be as beloved today. IronY?
The net effect of Coleman’s sensibility (writing, directing, casting, collaborators) pooled together leaving his stamp. Directing is execution onscreen and Francis breathed on those foundations long before anything was shot.
Huge irony? Yes. Loved as much? Probably not. Being slightly less wretched may have tilted Frank Conniff to ignore it when screening what landed on the show. Or were it chosen anyway, the writing might not be as labored or inspired. Much of why Manos is Manos is how it devastates the viewer. Lessening that changes everything.
Cy Roth apparently challenged himself to see just how much padding he could jam into a movie and he, somehow, succeeded with flying colors.
Fire Maidens From Outer Space (1956)? How is it?
I’m pretty sure if you edited out all the sitting, smoking, walking and dancing, the movie might be about 18 minutes long. It’s brutal, but it’s well-riffed!
Bert actually had a couple of good movies. He knew how to set up a shot and he could get the best performance possible from his actors. Basically, as a whole, his movies were competently made and had interesting ideas. Where they fall down is the fact that almost all of his movies were made on a shoestring budget.
Ed Wood, on the other hand, lacked all the skills needed to be a director. Uniformly his actors are wooden, his plots thin, his lighting bad and a monkey could choose better camera angles. Why he is a popular bad director is that you can tell he and his crew were really, really trying to make a movie. They were just not good at it.
So well said. Budget and ability are not identical. Nonetheless they may yield to the other conclusion from the viewer. Especially on first glance.
I believe his work was only ever covered in Rifftrax, but I still think James Nguyen deserves an honorable mention
I think Coleman Francis absolutely deserves to be on the list for this worst direction, especially in Red Zone Cuba where he wrote/directed/approved what was on the screen and he either thought it was good or didn’t care enough to fix it. …and I really don’t think it was the latter. I think he approved what was done. Anthony Cardoza did some of the editing himself but I rather think he was doing what he could with the tripe that Coleman Francis produced.
Mr. Birdemic? That alone is worth consideration.
And he really stepped up his CG game for Replica. Those sets were outstanding. I felt like I was actually in a sales office. Just incredible
I think James Nguyen is very much cut from the same cloth as Ed Wood, and definitely earns a spot in this thread. If creating a movie requires three things – passion, budget and ability – he’s off the charts for passion but, er, somewhat lacking in the other two.
Unlike similar RiffTrax fare, like Suburban Sasquatch and Feeders, the stories he was trying to tell were novel and compelling, but he grossly overestimated his ability to turn those ideas into movies. I respect his damn-the-torpedoes determination.
I can’t believe all of you are leaving Jesús Franco out of this conversation… Did we all forget that ‘The Castle of Fu Manchu’ exists? I mean, probably, that movie is boring as hell, but still