Monday, July 27, 2020

Andy Warhol's Bad -- a '70s cult film

By Doug Gibson

I just watched "Andy Warhol's Bad," one of the Factory's films from the 1970s that sought to shock people, a la John Waters, etc. There are the requisite shocks: limbs being cut off, a dog being stabbed, and the biggee, a baby tossed out of a tenement several floors high. With deliberately poor FXs, the camera lingers on this stuff.

"Bad" s mostly forgotten now. It's attempt at savage, gross-out black comedy never goes as far or as acid as John Waters' contributions, such as "Female Trouble," Desperate Living" or the infamous "Pink Flamingos," which has the late Divine eating dog poop. (FYI, the dog pop scene is not the most disturbing scene in "Pink Flamingos," -- not even close. So "Bad" has faded away.

And that's for the best; although the best produced Warhol film, it's often dreary as the main actors, Carrol1 Baker and Perry King, underplay their roles. In fact, King has more energy than Baker, perhaps the only time King had more energy than a co-star in any film! Other Warhol films, such as "Trash," and the monster flicks, are more interesting.

The plot involves Baker as running a hair removal and murder for hire businesses out of her home, which she shares with a doughty family, a few hit girls, including the beautiful actress Stefania Casini. Enter hit man Perry King, who needs to stay a few days before his appointment to kill an autistic boy whose parents want to get rid of. There's also a creepy cop harassing Baker, who basically is the main breadwinner in the dysfunctional family business. The film is as close a look at persons who are basically sociopaths sans any moral functions as any other film has attempted. Susan Tyrell has a role as Baker's marginally moronic daughter in law, who the sociopathic hit girls like to torment.

"Bad" is not a bad film lol, it's just not a great film,. I'd suggest '70s cult completists watch it, though, to see what cinema was competing with Waters for gross-you-out black comedy genre. The 1977 film runs a too-long 105 minutes. Watch a clip below.