the valley of gwangi

Like bad films and live in Bristol? You’ll ruddy love this then.

Run by Timon Singh, the brilliant Bristol Bad Film Club have been mesmerising audiences across Bristol with cult films, horrendous movies, and unknown classics. A Dwarf Filipino actor playing James Bond? Check. Cowboys and Dinosaurs? Check. The Room? Enough said. We spoke to these heroes of Bristol to delve a little further into the weird and wonderful of the Bristol Bad Film Club.
weng weng

What on earth is Bristol Bad Film Club?

Bristol Bad Film Club is dedicated to showing notorious films that have either slipped through the cracks of cinematic history or movies that are judged as being irredeemably bad.

However, in many cases we find that these films, while not great by traditional standards, are still incredibly entertaining – often because they are the vision of a single ego-driven person who had no-one to tell him ‘no’ (such as in the case of The Room), based around an incredibly bizarre concept (ninjas vs. a tae kwon do rock band flick in Miami Connection) or just have a fascinating story behind them (like Kim Jong Il’s Godzilla rip-off Pugasari).
 
They may not win any Oscars, but many of the films we show are much more entertaining and original than many of the forgettable blockbusters shown at the multiplex. After all, what major Hollywood studio in their right mind would green-light a film where a gymnastics instructor is possessed by the vengeful spirit of a dead ninja (Ninja III: The Domination)?
ninja 3

Why do you screen these awful films?

It’s purely selfish. As a big fan of cult films I just wanted to be able to watch the kind of films I inflicted on my friends to a bigger audience. As it was uncertain whether the people of Bristol would feel the same about films like Troll 2 and Samurai Cop, it was decided that all the profits from the screenings would go to local charities. So in a roundabout way, these ‘bad’ films are now doing good!

For me, it’s the stories behind the films. Often when I’m tracking down the rights to these films, I often find myself in contact with the directors and (sometimes) actors. We’ve beenlucky enough to interview a bunch of people about their roles in these films. Some show regret, some show good humour about it all, or in the case of David Hasselhoff, he’s convinced his Nick Fury film is actually rather fantastic!
nick fury hoff

What have you shown so far?

 
This August will be our two year anniversary and as we do screenings once a month, it’ll be our 24th event! Over the past two years, we’ve screened cult favourites The Room, Plan 9 From Outer Space and Troll 2, bigger budget failures like Masters of the Universeand Supergirl, forgotten exploitation flicks Samurai Cop and Black Samurai and plenty more inbetween including Italian Star Wars rip-off StarCrash (starring David Hasselhoff) and gymnastics karate flick Gymkata!

Where do you screen them?

These films are often much more entertaining when you have a drink in your hand, so we always try and find venues with a well-stocked bar. We also try and find venues that suit the film, so we’ve screened two sci-fi films at Bristol Planetarium, showed Street Fighter at 80s arcade bar Kongs of King Street and even put on a martial arts movie in a dojo in Temple Gate – though we had to bring in kegs of beer for that one.

Bristol Planeterium
For our really popular events and double bills, we have a good relationship with Redgrave Theatre in Clifton. It has 310 seats, a big screen and a great bar – ideal for our sell-out screenings of The Room!

What is the ultimate bad film and why is it Troll 2?

 Troll 2 is a cult favourite, which is why it was our third screening. Fans should definitely check out the documentary Best Worst Movie which is a fascinating insight into the film.
troll 2 guy
I think many people who say that The Room is the ultimate bad film as it’s a perfect story of what leads to these types of films being made – an unchecked ego, dubious acting, a plot hole-ridden script, gratuitous nudity, unnecessary special effects and infinitely quotable dialogue.

For me though, Samurai Cop has to be up there… and they’re making a sequel at the moment!

What are your upcoming screenings?

 
We’ve got a big outdoor screening in Victoria Park in Bedminster on 8 August of cult ‘cowboys vs. dinosaurs’ film The Valley of Gwangi. This is a favourite from my childhood and features great stop motion work from Hollywood legend Ray Harryhausen. His creatures are more lifelike than the actors on screen! It’s free for kids under 10 and we’ll be giving prizes to the best cowboy or dinosaur costume!
the valley of gwangi
Then on the 10 September, we are showing the recently re-discovered film Roar where 70 cast and crew were maimed trying to making a film with 150 lions, tigers and jaguars. The story behind this film is insane and we’re really lucky to be able to screen it.
roar film
All information can be found on www.bristolbadfilmclub.co.uk or you can find us on Facebook or on Twitter at @TheOtherBBFC.

 

Sam Gillies, the founder and editor of Best of Bristol. Purveyor of numerous Bristol lists, guides & videos. Most likely found attempting to find interesting street art across Bristol and other cities.

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