The culture of watching bad movies because they're so terrifically bad has been growing, outside of the light, insidiously, for years and years. Edward D. Wood Jr. conquered, very early on, the art of having such awesomely misplaced judgment in one's own talent. In his stead-and especially in the '70s and '80s-this grossly uneven ratio between the ability to make films and the ability to make good films grew to unforeseen heights. Before badness became a desirable quality, before filmmakers became self-aware, there was a sweet spot of awfulness that sprouted ghastly wings and took to the sky. Technology has cemented these oddities, and the Tacoma Cult Movie Club displays them in all their garish glory.
Every month on the second Sunday and fourth Monday from 7 - 10 p.m., the Acme Grub Cage in Tacoma is taken over by the Tacoma Cult Movie Club (TCMC). The objective: view the strangest nearly-forgotten films imaginable, pieces of cinema that would have faded into complete oblivion were it not for the fervent obsession people like TCMC co-founder the Reverend Colin-along with Tobin Ropes and Holland Hume-possess.
"We do a double feature based on a theme, along with shorts and trailers, and we put together about five different raffle packages," says Rev. Colin. "I pull [every film] out of my personal collection.... We've done all kinds of themes. Our very first one was a 'biker night.' Last year, we had a 'vampire night.' We've done 'prison night' a couple times, and those usually go over really well."
Films shown at TCMC range from straight-up exploitation movies, like the aforementioned prison films, to horror, sci-fi, fantasy and every bizarre forgotten genre under the sun. Not all of the films are outright terrible. On one of my visits to the Cult Movie Club-in honor of the remake of Clash of the Titans-we watched the original Clash, as well as Sinbad of the Seven Seas. But watching any of these movies, with a group of people, in a place where the liquor is freely flowing, is a fun and uniquely intimate experience. The size of the Acme Grub Cage furthers one's natural inclination to feel as though they're watching some crazy movie at home with a group of friends.
"We have some nights where everyone sort of watches the movies, and there might be a little bit of 'commentary,' shall we say," says Rev. Colin. "But then there are other nights when there are people yelling out throughout the majority of the night.... I can go either way on that."
As a matter of course, Rev. Colin keeps precisely what films will be shown a secret until their screening. All you receive in advance is a cryptically salacious postcard with a luridly pulpy cover to clue you in on what the theme will entail. These are not merely bad films, mind you. They've risen to a level outside of film, and exist as their own entity. They are cult movies, and they're dying to be unearthed.
Tacoma Cult Movie Club
Every second Sunday and fourth Monday, 7-10 p.m.
Acme Grub Cage, 1310 Tacoma Ave. S, Tacoma, 253.272.1892
See them here: https://www.facebook.com/Tacoma.Cult.Movie.Club