Showgirls, Teen Wolves and Astro Zombies Review

Well, maybe not a review, but definitely a recommendation. I had a 2 month gap between starting this and finally finishing it this week, so I’m going by my pleasant memories of this over 300 page book. Written by Michael Adams, who writes for my favourite magazine Empire, it chronicles “a film critic’s year-long quest to find the worst movie ever made.” It made my daily train commute fly by as each page turn would bring a new cinematic disaster that would conjur chuckles of disbelief. From home movies made to test out a new video camera that somehow found a distributor to a series of films with an all dwarf cast, this is a wonderfully entertaining look behind the sofa of cinema’s history. Everyone has their favourite “so bad it’s good” film and Adams spent a lot of time and money trawling through forgotten 1950s monster films to straight to DVD messes.

What makes Showgirls…. so enjoyable is not only the hundreds of films, but also the stories behind them, from “auteurs” who don’t know how to give up, to the tragic figures and countless unbelievable tales behind these big screen diamonds in the rough. Adams wisely just didn’t give us a huge list but rather weaves a loose narrative as he details his journey to unearth and view these gems. Using a form of bingo and categories such as stinky sequels and blaxploitation, Adams gives each film a score of 100, with more than a few barely gaining double digits. He’s a fun and funny writer and gives us glimpses of his non-movie watching life involving his day job at Empire (where he occasionally asks well known directors and actors for their recommendations) and his tolerant wife Clare and young daughter Ava. I can honestly say that most of the films mentioned in Adams’ book, I would love to see with a few friends, ready for a laugh. Not all of the films sounds unintentionally hilarious though, and a lot sound downright vile and boring.

Despite the premise of Showgirls… this will indeed quench your thirst for cinema, as it did with Adams, and give you an honest appreciation for that true cinematic gem when you find it. You can download the intro and first chapter of the book for free right here.

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