When Going to Camp Means Turning on Netflix

17Jun13

I like to watch movies of all kinds. I’ll pretty much watch anything – goo, bad, indifferent – and the genre doesn’t really matter that much to either. This is particularly true if I am dealing with some insomnia, as happens to me from time to time and is something I have to deal with quite a bit recently. The thing is the movies that are typically on at 2 AM are not usually of the greatest quality, so you get to see somethings that may not come across your television screen otherwise. For example, last night was one of those nights where I ended up watching “Boogeyman” and then “The Human Stain.” “The Human Stain” actually has some pedigree to it, being based on a novel by Philip Roth and stars Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman and Gary Sinise, but I have to say I wasn’t particularly impressed with it, at least no more than I was with Boogeyman, which stars Barry Watson (of 7th heaven fame) and Emily Deschanel (of Bones).

Boogeyman, and many horror movies, are typical of what you usually find on movie channels at 2 AM. The thing is I do like horror movies, so I will watch just about anything when it comes to that genre, and many horror movies end up being along the lines that I like, which is that they turn out to be campy. To me, campy is something that appeals to you because it is so ridiculous. Now anyone who watches horror movies knows a lot of them fall into this category, whether they intend to or not. The great thing is that there are a lot of other movies that fall into this realm as well. I saw two very recently on cable late at night; one you are probably very familiar with, the other maybe not so much.

The first was “Flash Gordon.” Anyone from my generation is pretty familiar with this movie. I am sure when they initially went into making it they thought they had a real winner on their hands, but if you look at this movie now you realize just how cheesy it really is, which makes it all the more appealing. The soundtrack is well-known because it is done by Queen, which even adds more to the campiness of the movie. I did some digging around after I watched the movie not that long ago and came upon some great trivia facts about this movie and the people involved:

1. The movie actually has 2 Academy Award-nominated actors in it – MaxVon Sydow (for “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close) and Topol (for “Fiddler on the Roof.) Yes, Dr. Zarkov is actually quite famous for his role as the lead in “Fiddler” and has played the role thousands of times, including in the movie and on Broadway, for which he was nominated for a Tony award.

2. Kurt Russell was in line to play Flash Gordon but turned it down because he thought the character was a little lacking, which anyone who has seen the movie can tell you that it is.

3. George Lucas originally wanted to make this movie, but the rights had already been purchased to Flash Gordon, so he made “Star Wars” instead.

4. While Sam Jones may not have gone on to great fame from the movie (though he spoofed himself in “Ted” recently), there are some famous people in this movie besides Max VonSydow and Topol. Timothy Dalton, who played James Bond, is Prince Barin. Ornella Muti, who played Princess Aura, may not be famous in the U.S. but is very famous in Italy. Richard O’Brien, who plays Fico, one of the Hawkmen, is much more famous for having written “The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Kenny Baker, famous for playing R2-D2, has a bit part as a dwarf. So does Robbie Coltrane, who went on to be much more famous and is known for his role in the Harry Potter movies.

5. The entire cast was actually signed to make several movies, but the first one did so poorly the whole thing was scrapped.

The movie looks really cheaply made, which is part of what makes it so fun. To me, it is the ultimate camp movie.

Another one that I saw recently was “The Shadow.” Older folks will know that “The Shadow” was famous for being a radio show and magazines long before any of these other superheroes came along and a lot of Batman is actually taken from the Shadow. The thing is it took them almost 60 years to get around to making a movie about it and by then, I think it comes across as very campy. Perhaps that was the intent all along, and if you have never seen it, give it a watch sometime to see what I mean. There’s a quality cast, including Alec Baldwin, John Lone, Penelope Ann Miller, Sir Ian McKellen, Tim Curry, Jonathan Winters and a half a dozen other famous character actors that you will recognize along the way. The movie itself did not get very good reviews when it first came out in 1994 but it has developed something of a cult following on DVD and after. Personally, I thought the whole movie was pretty silly. Alec Baldwin really hams it up, as does most of the cast, and maybe they were just having fun with it, but it’s a little labored for my tastes. it is however, definitely one that falls into the camp group for me.

So that brings us to today’s question then, which is:

What is the campiest movie that you have seen and loved?

There’s plenty out there for you to choose from (take a look at the original Batman series with Adam West and the movie they made too if you want real camp), so pick the one that stands out to you the most. You can answer me on here in the comments section or catch up with me on Facebook or Twitter. I’ll ask some people on Twitter too and see if I get any response.

I guess that’s it for now. I am tired from not having slept much last night and have some work to do, so I guess I need to get to it. Let me know what those campy movies are; I may need something to watch tonight!

 

o-SAM-JONES-FLASH-GORDON-facebook

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