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Arts and Entertainment

Show Review: Horrible Movie Night

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Sick and tired of fearing for your life in normal movie theaters? Want to be able to freely shout at the screen but don't want to watch a movie in Lawndale? Then may we suggest Horrible Movie Night, a monthly screening of the worst this town has ever had to offer the silver screen.

The brainchild of comedian (and longtime Simpsons animator) John Mathot, Horrible Movie Night (HMN) is a great way to spend $8 and a Saturday with some (ahem) beverage’d adults. Basically, the pitch is this: scrape the bottom of the film industry, and see what sort of horrible movies fleck up and stick in your eye. Then put those movies on a large screen in front of an audience, and encourage that audience to make of whatever comes up. Throw in a quick improvised intermission, prizes for best snarky joke, and you’ve got HMN. It’s a great way to crowdsource the work of former TV comedy juggernaut Mystery Science Theater 3000 (now online via Riff Trax, or in person as Cinematic Titanic), every month.

LAist was recently invited to Horrible Movie Night for a screening of the Frank Stallone stalled vehicle Terror in Beverly Hills. Imagine a less famous Stallone starring as Hack Stone, a former Special Forcers guru who’s out of the game until *gasp* the president’s daughter gets kidnapped on Rodeo Drive. Now, take that movie you’ve just imagined, and put it through a meat grinder of poor cinematography and even worse dialogue, and what slumps out the other side is Terror in Beverly Hills. Let the games begin.

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What is immediately laughable -and lovable- about Horrible Movie Night is just how democratic everything is. On this night, sitting inside a multi-purpose theater space at The Complex on Santa Monic Blvd., a decent crowd of complete strangers are all yelling jokes at a projector screen, but there is little to no talking over each other. If one person begins a joke, the remaining audience/participants are more than willing to listen in silence before deciding to laugh, applaud, jeer, or just move on. And here’s the thing: most of what’s getting tossed out is really funny. There are a few clunkers, and in some parts the film was so bad there wasn’t anything to even make fun of (think handicapped puppy bad), but for the most part the jokes are well-placed and well-received enough to crowd out the awful acting. In fact, don’t go to HMN if you expect to actually try to follow along with the cinematic clunker before you. Pretty quickly, your mind switches into bare bones joke mode, and you find yourself eager to make the room laugh by dissecting a scene or commenting on a moment in just the right way. Then, before you know it, the whole thing’s over. Time flies when you’re poking fun.

MST3K fans, and anyone with an ‘I can do that” attitude, should make it a priority to check out Horrible Movie Night at The Complex in Hollywood. Their monthly shows combine fantastic elements of community, comedy, and cinema - by letting people talk sh*t to a movie screen.

April 10th Horrible Movie: Microwave Massacre, starring Jackie Vernon

The Complex
6476 Santa Monica Blvd.

$8 admission