Friday, 26 March 2010

'The Wraith': It's so bad... it's funny!

Everyone has seen a film that was absolutely terrible, but brilliantly so. They have to be really awful though: a slightly bad film is just boring, to be funny-bad a film has to be really, really terrible. I posted an article about Empire magazine doing a top 50 worst movies a little while back and some cult “funny bad” movies featured in that list (‘Showgirls’ and ‘The Room’ as examples), however my favourite bad film didn’t feature. ‘The Wraith’ stars Charlie Sheen and is written and directed by a chap named Mike Marvin who (thanks IMDB) also directed ‘Hamburger: The Motion Picture’ and produced ‘Hot Dog... the movie!’ (if anyone has seen either, please let me know!).

Basically, this film isn't listed in any version of the 'Variety' film guide, but it plays fairly regularly on TV (I've seen it twice within six months previously and a friend tells me it was on just the other week). The story is about... well I hate writing synopsis, so here is what a chap called 'KGF Vissers' wrote about it on the IMDB:
Packard Walsh and his motorized gang control and terrorize an Arizona desert town where they force drivers to drag-race so they can 'win' their vehicles. After Walsh beats the decent teenager Jamie Hankins to death after finding him with his girlfriend, a mysterious power creates Jake Kesey, an extremely cool motor-biker who has a car which is invincible. Jake befriends Jamie's girlfriend Keri Johnson, takes Jamie's sweet brother Bill under his wing and manages what Sheriff Loomis couldn't; eliminate Packard's criminal gang the hard way...

'The Wraith' is just hilarious in every way: bad acting (yes); bad visual effects (yes); cheesy 80's soundtrack (yes); fantastic plot holes that make no sense (yes). The editing, the shot choices and the lighting of the film all work together to add hilarity to every possible moment. In other words: it's a masterpiece in the funny-bad movie genre. I love that it isn't self-aware, though. It isn't one of those films that is taking the piss out of itself. 'The Wraith' doesn't know it's bad. In fact, it thinks it's awesome, which only hightens the sense of joy I feel when I see it. The tagline at the end of the trailer (posted above) says "If you've done nothing wrong... you have nothing to fear", well be afraid Mike Marvin. Trust me: watch it next time it's on. And it will be on, probably right now.

1 comment:

  1. It was on again and I missed it? Damn.

    I think you've summed up this classic of bad 80's film perfectly.