What makes a film transcendently, fascinatingly bad, as opposed to merely unwatchable? A number of turkeys have become cult classics whose surviving cast members are lauded at conventions and bear witness in loving documentaries exploring how and why such movie monstrosities could have been made.
Jackey Neyman Jones was six years old in 1966 when she appeared (just her body; her voice was unconvincingly dubbed by a fully-grown woman) along with her father, her family’s dog, and other members of the El Paso community theater scene in the notorious Manos: The Hands of Fate. She released a memoir of the experience, and here joins Mark, Erica, and Brian to delve into the dynamics and perils of working with a supremely confident “auteur” filmmaker and being associated with a work that was roundly dismissed at the time but in which interest continues to revive since the film was riffed in 1993 by Mystery Science Theater 3000. We also touch on the bad films Birdemic, Catwoman, The Happening, and Battleship, as well as films about the making of bad films: The Disaster Artist, Best Worst Movie, Ed Wood, and Dolemite Is My Name. And of course, shark and bigfoot films. (Why not a bigfoot shark? Get on that, film-makers!)
You can watch Jackey read her entire book online. See her art. Read her interviewed in Cracked, Entertainment Weekly, and the AV Club. Check out her IMDB page and her short-lived Hand of Horror podcast. Manos: The Hands of Fate is in the public domain, so watch it unriffed if you dare, or check out the classic MST3K episode or the more recent Rifftrax treatment. See also the warped stage version with puppets: Manos: The Hands of Felt.
This episode includes bonus discussion you can access by supporting the podcast at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. This podcast is part of the Partially Examined Life podcast network and is curated by openculture.com.
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Judge Mark’s Torgo impression for yourself and marvel at the amount of time it takes for a movie family to get out of their flippin’ car: