Cinematic Indulgences: Under the Dark Hand of Jabootu

Jabootu’s Bad Movie Dimension is, hands down, the best site for enjoying the worst in cinema. Its motto is “Devoted To Savoring Films at the Very Bottom of the Cinematic Bell Curve”. Truly, the site plumbs the black depths of cinematic awfulness.

Jabootu (whom the site is named after) is the anti-muse, a god of bad art who graces only the worst of artistic endeavors, prompting creatives to produce works that that are so stunningly terrible that they transcend mere badness and achieve a shining level of glorious, scintillating awfulness that is seldom matched by the merely mediocre. The site celebrates the many movies that were blessed by the hand of Jabootu Himself.

Bad Movie Dimension is chock full of reviews of films so bad, you’ve likely never heard of them. (Though some you probably have, like Gigli.) The reviews — the best written by site founder Ken Begg — are lengthy pieces that thoroughly skewer their target in an entertaining and satirical fashion.

Along the way Begg includes background and history, to help you place the films in context. Several recent reviews educated me on the career of Roger Corman (“The King of the B-Movies.“), the history of Italian zombie movies, and the cinematic excesses of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (one of the worst power couples to hit Hollywood, ever).

The site is fun, well-written, and despite its (justifiable) practice of rejoicing in the evisceration of truly terrible movies, it shows a genuine respect for the craft of movie making, a true love of movies, and even a back-handed affection for its subject manner. Begg’s reviews are cutting, but never cynical, cheap, or contemptuous. (And they’re thoroughly entertaining to boot.)

When dealing with movies that beg to be mocked (and, indeed, deserve every bit of mockery the B-Masters hand out), affectionate yet honest criticism is especially welcome. It elevates what would otherwise be a crude collection of personal insults into even-handed criticism that’s both educational and interesting.

The one bad point of the site is that it tends to make one paranoid about the quality of one’s own endeavors. After reading a review of Boom! (perfectly named, according to a quoted critic, as it’s the sound of a bomb exploding) detailing how deeply awful a film written by Tennessee Williams and featuring Noel Coward can be, we all have to ask ourselves if we’re unwittingly falling under the sway of Jabootu.

After all, if superstars of the screen can fall under his dark hand, surely anyone can. Jabootu’s Bad Movie Dimension is proof of that.

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