Gloriously awful Rocky Horror-style particapatory film screening
This article is from 2011.
The midnight movies phenomenon is well documented – starting in the 1970s at fleapit cinemas, movies that were too bizarre, too violent or too extreme for the mainstream were shown to cult film-loving audiences in the dead of night. The Rocky Horror Picture Show, El Topo, Pink Flamingos – all these films were deemed too over the top for daylight hours, and relegated to midnight showings (although this ‘relegation’ was a badge of honour in itself). Now we can add to that canon Tommy Wiseau’s The Room – an extremely bad film screening at midnight on selected dates during the Fringe.
The film follows Johnny (played by writer, director and producer Wiseau), a successful banker, whose relationship with his fiancée Lisa is quickly descending into oblivion. Everything about the film is abysmal – the acting, plot, camera work, editing, soundtrack – literally nothing is above reproach. As such, it has become an object of cherished derision – cinemas full of anti-fans congregate to laugh at its awfulness, recite some of the choicest dialogue (‘You are tearing me apart, Lisa!’) and, erm, throw plastic spoons at the screen (a reference to the inexplicably spoon-themed set design).
It could be argued that this celebration of awfulness is symptomatic of modern society’s tendency to revel in the schadenfreude resulting from other people’s lack of talent (see also: Jedward). But that argument would be drowned out in the jeers and catcalls of a crowd having an undeniably good time at the expense of a man who, let’s be honest, is most likely laughing all the way to the bank. Rumours of a 3D, most likely overly self-aware remake circulate wildly; in the meantime, let us enjoy The Room for what it is – an enjoyably awful midnight movie.