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Bad Movie Christmas
by Patrick Storck

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It's Christmas Time once again! It's a bunch of other holidays, but I personally celebrate Christmas more or less. Catholic childhood, a few years working retail, these things make their mark on a person. So when this time rolls around I have a few traditions.

The first would be the movies I watch. A quick list, just because lists are fun:

Those are mostly good to great movies, and all at least a little Christmassy. But the title of this piece is Bad Movie Christmas.

Back in high school a few of my friends and I would have regular "bad movie nights." Snacks, a dark room, a few VHS featuring the strangest titles we could find, especially if we didn't know any of the names involved. A better chance that minimal resources were available, that the film was less "professional."

We would watch such horrible, nearly unforgivable works as SKEETER and HOUSE IV. We saw strange and oddly involving things as STUFF STEPHANIE IN THE INCINERATOR. I mean, there was no Stephanie, a brief shot of an incinerator in the background of one scene, there was no stuffing, and all of the characters revealed themselves to be completely different characters at every act break. It was fascinating, though no idea if it was good or not. Probably not.

One Christmas, cash was tight. We thought about how hard some of us were to shop for, and how much all of it would cost getting a nice present for everyone. We decided that it would be easier to get each other bad movies.

Bad movies are generally cheap and easy to find. On VHS, with clearance warehouses and more Mom & Pop operations willing to thin back stock from the 80s, it was actually a lot easier a few years ago. Still, DVD has plenty of awfulness being remastered for our pleasure.

So at first it was one movie brought by each, like a pot luck. They went, wrapped, in a bag. Then each person would pull one out, unwrap it, and read the descriptions, the cast, and all other pertinent information to the room. Once they were open we started watching for as long as we could take it. It was a blast, and pretty much immediately became a tradition.

Over the years the tradition evolved. Obviously we're pretty much fully converted over to DVD. We haven't shifted to Blu-Ray yet, but that's because REDNECK ZOMBIES hasn't had a high-definition remaster yet. Or will it ever, methinks.

Thanks to a little more cash now that we're no longer operating on high school or college pay, we've started buying one for each person involved. That way we all have shelves sullied with the worst of the worst. Oh, one of the rules in our group is that you aren't allowed to get rid of your movies. No regifting, no tossing them in a dumpster, no whipping them out a window as you drive over a bridge. Also, lighting a film on fire and tossing it in the bay to stop the screaming is reserved only for Carrot Top emergencies.

Everyone gets their movies, then we do the bag selection. We start the movie and get as far as we can into each one. When a scene becomes unbearable, we reserve the right to skip to the next scene. Some movies, such as Hasselhoff cowboy comedies, may go much faster than heartwarming tales about kids not bathing to protest something or another. With this many movies, we can also be well prepared for additional movie nights throughout the year.

Another plus about not blind-buying is being able to customize the badness. Know somebody who hates musicals? FROM JUSTIN TO KELLY to the darkest part of their soul (and make sure to try out the "commentary" track).

This year, even though it's probably too late, have a bad movie Christmas. Get some friends together, some pizza, some beer. Even if everyone just rents a selection and brings it over, you'll have plenty to play with!

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Patrick Storck
Patrick hails from Baltimore, MD, where playing by the rules is frowned upon. Only average things come from playing it safe.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Patrick Storck by clicking here.

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