Original article: HERMENAUT: I, Robot
One sign of the death of the cinema
Crow: Since when did cinema die again?
is the zombie-like persistence
Jonah: Night of the Living Dead-esque?
of the “bad film” cult
Servo: Hey, I joined the Bad Film cult in like, 1987.
that rose to public-nuisance status in the late Seventies,
Crow: Wait, it’s been around since the 70s?
Jonah: Yes, Crow, ever since the Bad Film cult was started in 1978 by Andrew Slushell, after seeing The Swarm.
feasting noisily on things like the Ed Wood films.
Crow: I’m just glad we didn’t riff Plan 9 from Outer Space!
From the start, this was just an especially obnoxious manifestation of a general intolerance for films that try to free themselves from the dominant mode of cinematic realism.
Servo: Until Godzilla vs. Megalon entered the Criterion Collection!
Thus it’s but a short step from sneering at the budgetary deficiencies of Plan 9 from Outer Space to scoffing at, e.g.:
Jonah: We riffed Marooned. Is that in the Criterion Collection?
- Any non-state-of-the-art special effects and visions of the future,
Servo: Such as Project Moonbase?
Crow: 1970 was nothing like the depiction of that movie.
even though these things date themselves anyway from period to period,
Crow: Exactly like Project Moonbase!
Jonah: And Time Chasers!
and future generations may find
Servo: Monster A Go-Go?
Jonah: The Creeping Terror?
Crow: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians?
less “realistic” (whatever that will mean)
Jonah: Than what?
than the 1956 aliens-smash-the-state programmer of which it is an unacknowledged remake,
Crow: I hope it’s a Bert I. Gordon movie!
Earth vs. the Flying Saucers;
- Overtly non-realistic visual and acting style
Jonah: Like David Lynch!
used for expressive purposes, as in Soviet master S. M. Eisenstein’s outrageous
Servo: Wait, Eisenstein made a comedy?
Crow: Yes. Stalin: The Movie!
Ivan the Terrible, which uses actors’ bodies as components of a delirious architecture;
Crow: Then why was it featured in the Criterion Collection?
Servo: Watch out for snakes!
- “Implausible” plots like Vertigo—
Crow: Hey! I liked Vertigo!
as if we’re supposed to ignore the holes
Jonah: There are no plot holes in Vertigo!
in the stories Hollywood tells now
Servo: Aren’t recent Hollywood movies enjoyable?
just because men don’t wear ties to walk around the block
Jonah: Has this guy ever seen Kind Hearts and Coronets?
and no shot lasts longer than 1.4 seconds—
Crow: Indie films in a nutshell!
and “banal” ones like the potboiler-like thriller stories
Jonah: Hitchcock movies make me sleepy.
from which Orson Welles made his superb
Servo: Citizen Kane?
Lady from Shanghai, and Touch of Evil—
Servo: Those movies aren’t as good as Citizen Kane, but okay!
as if Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripedes working together could have come up with an original story or cared less about it;
Crow: It is the Digest of Heady Philosophy!
TO BE CONTINUED