By Doug Gibson
"It Came From Hollywood," 1982, color, directed by Malcolm Leo and Andrew Solt, Paramount Pictures, 79 minutes. Starring Dan Ackroyd, Gilda Radner, John Candy, Cheech and Chong and a host of “bad movies.” Schlock-meter rating: 5 out of 10.
“It Came From Hollywood” ... I saw the film in a movie theater 33 years ago. I watched it recently again on YouTube and I have to say that’s it’s not as good as I thought it was way back then.
It’s definitely unique, and stands as an early offering in the bad movies cum cult films craze that started in the late 1970s, ’80s. But, like much of the film critiques of that era, it’s smarmy to the max, with bad puns and skits making fun of these lower-grade “C” movies, rather than treating them with affection and noting the efforts with good humor and appreciation. Indeed, the film is based on the once-popular book, “The Golden Turkey Awards,” which mocked these films in similar manner.
Stars Candy, Radner, Ackroyd and Cheech and Chong connect the films, via subject sections, with Saturday Night Live-type skits that range from passable (Candy) to mediocre (Ackroyd and Radner) to gosh-awful with Cheech and Chong, who are so dated and unfunny that no film spoofed in “It Came From Hollywood” is half as bad as the faux stoned duo.
The best thing about “It Came From Hollywood,” and the reason to see it via YouTube on a weekend, is the sheer number of “so-bad-they-are-good” films with excerpts in the movie. I counted 95 and there’s an admirably wide selection of genres, from all-black films, to gorilla epics, to 50s juvenile films, to druggie films, to monster flicks, to bad melodrama, to states rights exploitation, and a special section “honoring” Ed Wood, which Candy handles with some class. I’m pleased to see the late ’40s cheapie “Daughter of the Jungle” featured, a classic of the bad film genre that has disappeared of late. For a list of the films, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_Came_from_Hollywood.
There are so many beloved bad films that it saves the smarmy anthology and forces me to recommend it for cult film buffs. There's "Maniac," (1934), "Isle of Forgotten Sins," with classic 20-shot gun battle between two six-shooters, "Fire Maidens From Outer Space," "Runaway Daughters," "The Amazing Colossal Man," "Prince of Space," "Slime People," "Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies," "Mars Needs Women" and so. You get the picture: Ignore the dumb skits and just enjoy the clips.
On the minus side, the smarmy filmmakers occasionally slam a film that is actually considered a great film, even classic of the genre. “The Fly” and “The Incredible Shrinking Man," "Creature From the Black Lagoon," and "Beast From 20,000 Fathoms" are some examples of miscast films.
There’s been no official DVD release of this film, and the out-of-print VHS is very expensive to buy. To watch “It Came From Hollywood,” and please do if you love the films noted, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2TnJ6DkJwM.