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Showgirls, Teen Wolves, and Astro Zombies: A Film Critic's Year-Long Quest to Find the Worst Movie Ever Made Paperback – January 19, 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: It Books (January 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061806293
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061806292
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #668,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Michael Adams’ book is great fun! No one intends to make a truly bad movie, but when they do, Michael Adams will be there to watch it...and make it entertaining.” (John Landis, director of Trading Places and The Blues Brothers)

“Michael Adams is the Peter Biskind of really crappy movies. I thank him for watching these films so I didn’t have to claw my eyes out myself.” (A.J. Jacobs, New York Times bestselling author of The Know-It-All and The Year of Living Biblically)

“Like many of the bad movies it celebrates, this book is addictive, mesmerizing and endlessly amusing.” (Harry Medved, co-author of The Golden Turkey Awards and The Fifty Worst Films of All Time)

“Reading Michael Adams’ entertaining and disturbingly comprehensive book is like being dragged through the fun parts of Hell in a flame-proof suit. Having had both hands in the cesspools of cinema for over twenty years, I can say with confidence that this book is the best of its kind: a joyously critical, deeply personal journey through a medium we love to hate almost as much as we love to love.” (Kevin Murphy, co-star/writer of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and author of A Year At the Movies)

From the Back Cover

Showgirls or Spice World?
Reefer Madness or Robot Monster?
battlefield Earth or The Black Gestapo?

One reviewer's relentless search for the most appalling abomination ever to disgrace the screen—at the rate of one movie a day . . . for a year!

For every cinematic classic the studios have released, there have been dozens of cheesy monstrosities, overpriced flops, and schlocky epics. Rampaging robots, bouncing bimbos, moronic martial artists, vapid vampires, troubled teens, barbaric bikers, and idiotic infants—all of these, and more, have been foisted on us in the name of "entertainment." And entertaining they are—for all the wrong reasons!

Featuring a cast of thousands, including A-listers like Brad Pitt and Sandra Bullock in their Z-grade origins, and firsthand interviews with bad-movie aficionados, from Leonard Maltin and David Sedaris to John Waters and Eli Roth, this odyssey charts one intrepid critic's attempt to maintain a normal family life and two day jobs as he watches hundreds of dreadful tapes and DVDs in every conceivable genre. Even movie buffs will be surprised by what they can learn as they laugh out loud at the worst of the worst.

With a foreword by revered Night of the Living Dead director George A. Romero, Showgirls, Teen Wolves, and Astro Zombies is an unforgettable journey deep into film's forbidden vault of irredeemable crud. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

More About the Author

Not that he's a total Gen X cliché, but Michael Adams was first blown away by the power of movies when the rebel ship and its Imperial pursuer blasted over his head in 1977's Star Wars. After staging hundreds of action-figure re-enactments, Michael incorporated his love of Princess Leia, writing stories and obsessing over movies into a newfound career goal - namely, creating screenplays for Carrie Fisher that he could direct. He was, after all, seven years old at the time.

Soon after, exposed to films way beyond his pay grade, he became a keen fan of The Deer Hunter and Taxi Driver, along with the likes of The Evil Dead, Basket Case, The Thing and Pink Flamingos. After briefly absconding from the parental home for a Kerouac-ian road trip at age 16, he scored a job at a film distributor - and used their facilities to publish Night Creatures, a short-lived fanzine about cult films. At which point followed a brief foray into journalism school. Other CV highlights include stints as a kitchen hand, local newspaper hack, telemarketing dude, video store clerk, nervous Third World war-zone correspondent, hardware store jockey, pool boy, schlock movie actor and ice cream scooper.

Michael eventually glommed into magazine writing, using two years at FHM as his springboard into Empire magazine. Eight years and thousands of films later he's happy to be a movie reviewer.
In addition to Empire, Michael contributes to FHM, Men's Style, Rolling Stone and websites Movieline and Rotten Tomatoes.

While having a face for radio, Michael has appeared in front of the cameras, as "Stoned Hippy" in 1991 Z-grade "classic" Bloodlust, and as co-host of TV program The Movie Show in 2007-08. He will next be glimpsed as a zombie in George A. Romero's Survival Of The Dead.

Even though he was shot in the head in that film, Michael continues to live in Sydney with Clare and their daughter Ava. They have two cats, Asta and Spencer - both named on movie whims.

Customer Reviews

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See all 11 customer reviews
It's a great read for any movie buff.
Marie Sarkisian
The only thing I like better than reading about film is reading about BAD film.
My book was better than advertised, in terms of quality.
Lary Crews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Found Highways VINE VOICE on February 6, 2010
Format: Paperback
Michael Adams shows us that darkness in all its cheapness. This book is his entertaining diary of watching bad films for a year (a movie a day, that's all we ask).

If you like these kinds of psychotronic movies like me, you'll enjoy this book. Adams has a knack for synopsizing films in a paragraph or two. The book also has a lot of interviews with filmmakers and actors. (But I am beginning to wonder how much more study shlock cinema needs.)

Movies like those of Ed Wood (which Adams discusses in detail) are famous because they're interesting despite their cheapness. But a lot of the movies Adams watched are famous only for being bad. And some of them aren't famous at all and should stay that way.

We also learn about Adams's new career as a movie reviewer on Australian TV and his new family life with his wife and baby daughter. Adams strikes a good balance between talking about movies and his family. It's clear his life is at a turning point and that this project is connected to it.

We get some film history, too. Thomas Edison was the first American exploitation filmmaker with The Kiss (1896, remade in 1900).

Adams is very generous in mentioning others who've written on this subject, like Kevin Murphy from Mystery Science Theater 3000 (A Year at the Movies: One Man's Filmgoing Odyssey) and film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum.

Doris Wishman, one of the first female film directors in Hollywood (who directed Nude on the Moon), said, "All movies are exploitation movies." (For an interesting essay on Doris Wishman, read
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Carman on January 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
There are countless publications about bad and good-bad films (as a B- through Z-grade cinema enthusiast and co-creator of a zine called I Love Bad Movies, I've read my fair share). Many of them are very good, but Adams' book stands out by turning his adventure to find the worst-ever into a sort of narrative, weaving in little bits of personal anecdotes (hosting a movie review TV show; pushing a long-in-development script; fitting the time-consuming Quest into an otherwise normal life). He also brings in bits of conversations with luminaries like George Romero, John Waters, Razzies founder John Wilson, and Kevin Murphy of MST3K, as well as snippets from his extensive research to flesh out our knowledge and appreciation of these films.

But the part of Adams' structure that makes this book so interesting to me is his subdivision of all the candidate films into thoughtfully grouped (and quirkily named) categories such as "Eszterhas of Pain," "Gorilla Snore Fare," and "That's Travolting!" Each of these sections is a mini-chapter of its own, usually containing two to five films with a connecting star, filmmaker, character, plot, or theme. A lot of people can tell you their opinion of the worst movie ever made, but Adams can authoritatively identify the worst movie ever made about Bigfoot, or point out Bo Derek's cheesiest, nakedest performance. Breaking the book into these chunks was a smart move, making it easy to read as much or as little as I'd like before I go back to pretending to be a productive human being.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. G. Attwood on February 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
This may be a book about the worst films ever made but this is one of the best books I've read about film.
Michael Adams entertainingly describes a year of watching one dreadful film a day, a game he calls Bad Movie Bingo. After extensive research, Adams, the reviews editor for the film magazine Empire, compiles a list of the worst films ever made and watches them in an order dictated by a toy bingo machine.
A book about bad films could be written in a negative way and result in a depressing read. But Adams' humour and knowledge results in a jolly and intelligent review of cinema's forgotten flops. His writing style is lively and funny - "My salary is about what Jennifer Aniston got for blinking in one episode of Friends", he quips when talking about his new television review job.
The famously bad films are included - such as Gigli, Showgirls and Shanghai Surprise. But Adams' homework means he's also uncovered gems such as Superbabies ("utterly reviled") The Incredible Melting Man ("an oddity") and Howard the Duck ("much less fun that it sounds").
Warning: Adams' enthusiasm for bad movies could encourage you to watch some (I'm off to hunt down Rhinestone, with a singing Dolly Parton and Sly Stallone).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marie Sarkisian on February 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
I immediately purchased this book after I heard the author on the South Florida radio show Paul and Young Ron. I love watching bad movies, so I was very excited to hear that someone else shared my interest. I love the story line as Michael Adams goes movie through movie - especially how he tries to get his family to watch some of them with him (I feel his pain!).

It's a great read for any movie buff. Everyone should watch bad movies just as much as good movies. It gives you a better perspective when someone does a good job.

Thanks for suffering Michael so we don't have to!
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