4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2008
If you've read Peter Swanson before, you know you're in for a colorfully wild ride here. He takes on the 70s bad-movie-making era via Jilly, and then mixes it up with -- oh, just read the blurb up there -- everything! Including pretty nail polish, and Jilly's hair issues... and the whole turtle thing (you gotta read it) is a hoot. Go Peter!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I've been a fan of bad movies ever since watching "Mystery Science Theater 3000" on Comedy Central in the early 90s. Before that I might have been a fan of some bad movies without realizing it. But after that I started to realize what fun it could be to appreciate the badness of certain movies in an ironic way.
It's the same appreciation at work here in Peter Joseph Swanson's "Bad Movies." Like many a Hollywood story, this begins with a young girl arriving in Tinseltown to make it big. Her name is Jill and she hails from the tiny town of Plaksville. Unlike other girls who arrive in town with stars in their eyes Jill is hiding a dark secret--only she doesn't realize it.
It isn't long before Jill stumbles into a homosexual photographer who wants to take pictures of her. These wind up in the hands of a smut magazine peddler named Snako, who at a bargain basement version of a Playboy party is murdered by a creep in a rubber mask. Despite this setback, Jill finds shelter with writer/producer Bod, who finds her work at the Film Farm, an actual farm that produces the kind of campy, homemade cinema that would make Ed Wood proud.
As Jill becomes Jilly and rises to a sort of infamy, her dreams of stardom are tarnished by the evils of Hollywood and the psycho killer in the rubber mask, who seems intent on murdering everyone Jill knows.
Overall the story is a fun read. Like the dreadful "Turtasaur" Jill makes, it's more guilty pleasure reading than hoity-toity "art." Despite the fact that Jill is a clueless ditz, it was impossible to root against her in her misguided quest to become a star.
I only have two relatively minor complaints. First, the subplot with the silent movie star Dunkel (I won't try spelling her last name) didn't really seem to go anywhere. Second, I would have liked some more bad movies in "Bad Movies." The bits about how the crew at the Film Farm create their "monsters," sound effects, costumes, and sets are hilarious.
Still, no one who appreciates really bad movies should pass up reading "Bad Movies."
That is all.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2009
Bad Movies is the third and final book in Peter's Tinseltown Trilogy. If you've read Peter's Hollywood Sinners and The Joan Crawford Murders you might wonder if this book could get any wilder. The answer is yes. I will admit that I blushed more while reading this book than I did the others. Perhaps it is because this one is set in the 1970's, a time that I was alive, and so the 70's slang and situations seem more real to me. But blushing or no, I had to find out what happened to Jill.
Others seem to notice something different about Jill that she isn't completely aware of. When she has those fleeting and distant memories of Mexico and surgeries and a body part long gone, she brushes them aside and looks to her pretty manicure for reassurance.
She's a pretty girl who won the tile of Miss Milk in her hometown pageant and she arrives in Tinseltown believing that the modeling agencies will surely be impressed. But life is tough in the city and her new acquaintance, a pirouetting photographer, lets her know that she will have to pay some dues if she wants to be a star. He introduces her to the world of bad movie making, mobsters and her new boyfriend, a nudist named Bod.
While living in a shaky house near a nuclear power plant with Bod (whose name is actually Bob but thinks Bod sounds more studly), she works on the films that she believes will catapault her to stardom. How could a movie with a scantily clad cavewoman in a desert with giant turtles and simulated naughtiness not be a hit? It ended up being the kind of film that 70's SNL's Leonard Pinth Garnell would have deemed "exquisitely bad."
If bad movies were all that she had to worry about than life would be relatively easy. But no, there are murders and earthquakes and fires and a psycho in a leisure suit and rubber mask chasing her about. And those strange bits of fleeting memory........
This book is a smorgasbord of hilarious characters and outrageous situations. Read this book and you'll feel that you've taken a very entertaining walk on the wild side.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2010
Some people already know Peter J Swanson. Some also know he is the author of several books, including the Tinseltown Trilogy. When I first read the snippets, comments, and various reviews of these books, I wasn't sure if I wanted to read them or not. I wasn't sure I would even like them because they are not the type of books I usually read.
However, I decided to throw my inhibitions to the wind and give them a try. In doing so, I ordered all three books instead of just the first one. I mean, what good is a threesome if you don't have all three?
Prior to the arrival of the books, I promised to do a book review of each on Gather. When my books FINALLY arrived, I read them at a leisurely pace enjoying each of the characters and the tale that unfolded with each turn of the page.
Some time has passed since I completed the third and final book and I have no excuse for being so slow at posting the review(s). Save only that life has intruded and I did not want to write reviews without being totally engrossed. I wasn't going to take the chance of possibly turning away future readers and/or fans. I also couldn't decide how best to write the reviews, either one at a time or all three in one. So, without further ado, I give you the Ménage à trois: Hollywood Sinners, The Joan Crawford Murders, and Bad Movies.
In Hollywood Sinners, I was transported to the glories and horrors of Hollywood in the 30's. I followed Karin from her home on the farm to her marriage with the lunatic drunk into Hollywood where she met Ramon, Mama, Carol, Antonio, Etienne and Sister Agatha.
That sounds simple, but in reality, I cringed as she suffered at the hands of the drunk, who got what was coming to him pretty early in the tale. I laughed with her and the conversations she had with others. I imagined waking up beside her in the ditch as a foot long lizard stared at us both. I rode on her coattails as she pursued a dream of making it big and all the experiences that go along with the journey.
I won't give it away by saying what happened to Karin and those she came into contact with. However, I will say the journey was quite an enjoyable ride.
In The Joan Crawford Murders, I was again sent to Hollywood only this time the setting was the 50's. Instead of Karin, I was now enjoying the city with Joan Crawford. Whatever I thought I knew about Joan was thrown to the side after reading this book.
During Joan's comeback production, I was able to see her in a new light as one Joan Crawford drag queen look-a-like is murdered after another. One by one someone is eliminating them and Joan's alcohol and drug induced paranoia had me wondering if she wasn't the psychotic killer. You know, Joan, no not that one...this one, not her...her.
In the end, well...no, I can't tell you. Just get the book and read the filming for yourself. Who knows who will be left standing in the end ;)
The final book in the trilogy, Bad Movies, was as good if not better than the first two. It had me laughing, cringing, crying, and blushing more than ever as I was thrust into the 70's with Jill in Tinseltown.
Jill wishes to be a successful model, however she is naive as to the price she'll have to pay to achieve this goal. The price of bad movie making, a stalking psycho, murders, and natural disasters. All of these make an appearance in Jill's journey to stardom. Not to mention her fleeting, but haunting memories of losing body parts....
There you have it, my quick review of the Tinseltown Trilogy. You can find these books on Amazon.com. In my opinion, these books were a welcomed distraction. Peter made me believe I was in Tinseltown and witnessing everything happening. He made the characters, their dreams and motivations, their struggles and achievements, and the lifestyles believable. The mystery and intrigue had me wondering what was going to happen next. All in all, I enjoyed these three books and I look forward to reading more by this author.
on August 9, 2009
If you loved To Wong Foo and The Bird Cage as my daughter and I do then this is a must read for you! BAD MOVIES, by Peter Joseph Swanson was non-stop fun from the very beginning. My daughter was waiting for the book before I even finished.
You will fall in love with the fabulous characters and exciting scenes. I began reading at night and wanted to stay up and finish the book even thouhg my eyes were getting tired ... I finished it over the next two days.
The silly characters, Jilly's new family, are so endearing that you can't help but fall in love with them: Andernach, Bod, Candy Cane, Dixie Dawn Don and you can't forget Dunkel Morgendammerung.
It's non-stop excitement from the time they yell 'action' until they run out of film and yell 'cut'! I couldn't wait to read what would happen to Bod's hillside house built on stilts OR see if Jilly's small-town innocence would be ruined by Tinsletown!
It reminded me of my first childhood job at a Florida fabric store where I helped many a drag queen purchase fine fabrics for their gowns and my fun adventures dancing the night away with friend's at 'Discovery' an Arkansas gay bar.
You won't want to put this one down until you discover who the mystery monster masked man is that stalks Jilly and her friends.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! All I can say is, "Love It!"