BIRDEMIC: SHOCK AND TERROR (2010)
Dir: James Nguyen
You will notice that as of writing this the film enjoys a merciful 2.0 IMDb rating. Who in their right minds rated anything above 1? Who among the sane found redeeming qualities? What single aspect of the film could actually be worse than it is? But of course you will notice that at least 1/3rd of the votes is a perfect 10. This is how craptastic this is. People love this in the same way we love Manos, Plan 9, Hobgoblins, Overdrawn at the Memory Bank, Troll 2.
Now you have two options to consider while watching. One is that there are filmmakers who are really this inept and clueless about the mechanics of film and yet were mysteriously drawn to make them, people like Coleman Francis director of Beast of Yucca Flats or Ed Wood. You have to entertain the possibility that these people were really passionate and open about the whole adventure of making films, that they took time and risk out of ordinary lives to gamble on a quixotic dream.
They failed, dismally so, in the same way most of us would if we were insane and spontaneous enough to quit our day jobs.
So you really have to leave some room open with these people, and that Hal P. Warren was not simply catty or ironic when he said: “Always give 110% in everything you do, if you don’t give it your all, there is no sense in doing it at all.” and this was the same man who directed Manos: The Hands of Fate.
The other option you have is to consider that there are people like PT Barnum around, savvy business minds who know we’re suckers for every sort of outrageous monstrosity or idiotic entertainment and will gladly pay our circus fare to see a freaky road-show. These are not modern-day half-mad shamans who will venture beyond common sense to grant us a vision of the sublime ridiculous, or village idiots who will put themselves out there and now and then speak truth, but cunning peddlers plying a trade for money. Bad movies. This is a craft as well as any.
This latter case is a more recent phenomenon, I believe in keeping with all the other post-modern/ironic/hipster culture junk. Highly self-conscious patchwork functioning on tribal standards. Knowing this makes you one of a shared, preferably small group.
Now this is why something like The Room became such a cult hit so fast: there’s just no way to tell which of the two it is and whether or not everyone’s in on the joke. We watch and laugh assuming they’re not, but have to entertain the idea that it’s all a show being staged just for our amusement and is riffing on just this kind of campy appreciation. It’s a tantalizing conundrum.
This is more like The Room and less than say, Plan 9. It’s so outrageously awful in every respect but trusts we have become so arch and ironic in our appreciation of badness that every exploding digital bird (!) will elicit cheers instead of jeers. We cheer on, hoping it actually gets worse and more senseless. Plan 10 is deliberate badness. Troma knows all about this.
All the fun is in juggling these two notions. Someone’s got to be taking the p#ss here. Or is he?