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It’s been a stellar year for bad movies. As in so-bad-they’re-good bad movies. The phenomenon of crap cinema, or rather the appreciation of crap cinema, has existed for decades, but 2010 saw a newfound interest in good-bad film.
Best Worst Movie, a documentary that follows the cast and crew of the not-until-recently-beloved cult film Troll 2, received plenty of acclaim for being an unexpectedly captivating movie that introduced Troll 2 to a wider audience. James Nguyen‘s inept homage to Hitchcock, Birdemic: Shock and Terror, attracted plenty of media attention after Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim (of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!) hosted the film’s L.A. premiere. The Room, a good-bad movie masterpiece that’s gone down in midnight movie lore, gained more notoriety in 2010 thanks to Tom Bissell‘s brilliant feature story on the film for Harper’s, “Cinema crudité.”
A lot of the conversation surrounding these pictures tends to focus on the notion of appreciating a movie for its bad qualities. The question at hand: How can you enjoy a piece of cinema packed with failure after failure? Still, that hasn’t stopped people from packing midnight screenings of The Room, Troll 2, or Birdemic, and for reasons that many fans have trouble articulating.
There’s a certain magic to these fiascos on film that can’t be manufactured, calculated, or produced with a purpose. And no one in 2010 was more magical than The Room‘s auteur, Tommy Wiseau.
The Room‘s writer, director, producer, and star is notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to the details of his unexpected cult hit. Needless to say, his enigmatic personality only adds to fans’ adoration of the gloriously over-the-top tale of a love triangle in San Francisco. While Wiseau won’t discuss the film’s specifics, he has said he always intended the movie to be a black comedy, a statement that’s reiterated in The Room‘s rebranded trailer.
Sure, it’s easy to use this as even more evidence that Wiseau’s movie contains that unintentional magic which makes a bad movie great. Who else could make such an inept film than someone who would claim his film contains, “the passion of Tennesee Williams” and is a “quirky new black comedy” in the span of a few seconds? (Never mind, even, that he spells Tennessee Williams’ name incorrectly.) But it hasn’t stopped some from questioning whether The Room was made intentionally—-and wasn’t just sincerely screwed up.
This year Wiseau participated in a short film that verifies the existence of good-bad movie magic: The House That Drips Blood on Alex. The short, written by a sketch comedy group called Studio8, premiered on Comedy Central on Oct. 14 and stars Wiseau as the titular Alex. The movie title says all you need to know about the film’s synopsis and is about as uncreative as the actual short.
Needless to say, The House That Drips Blood on Alex is terrible. And not in a good way. Unlike The Room—-or Troll 2, Birdemic, or any other so-good-it’s-bad film—-House tries to produce the ineptitude that makes The Room irresistible, and fails across the board. And even in failure, the movie’s potential aim to be a great failure is lackluster as best.
A large reason House stinks is because of Wiseau. Stuck reading lines he didn’t write, under the direction of someone other than himself, Wiseau comes across stiffer than ever before. Sure, the dialogue in The Room often sounds false or foreign, but in his turn in House, Wiseau appears to not even mean or understand his lines. That’s because House has its tongue planted right in its cheek, and the film comes across as boring, uninteresting, and a waste of time. There’s nothing ironic about the drama of The Room, and the humor fans love is derived from the movie’s absolute sincerity. Wiseau may say any humor in The Room was intended, but his role in The House That Drips Blood on Alex says otherwise. Wiseau proved the magic of so-bad-it’s-good films exist the same way he made The Room a cult hit: unintentionally.