There are two types of bad movies.
"You can have movies that are just bad, like Pearl Harbor," said Greg Ross-Munro, 29. "Or you can have movies that are so bad that they're actually good again." These, Ross-Munro explained, become cult movies: campy, often low-budget films with weak acting and lame special effects. The flicks often bomb at the box office but garner a strong following online.
Ross-Munro and his buddies Casey Kent and Steve Martinez, all of Tampa, run cultflicks.net, a Web site dedicated to reviewing and preserving movies like the 1966 horror film Manos: The Hands of Fate and the 1993 comedy Terminal USA. On Saturday at Tampa Pitcher Show, cultflicks.net will hold its first public event, a screening of The Toxic Avenger Part II, a 1989 action comedy about a superhero from New Jersey who battles evil in Tokyo.
The friends started cultflicks.net two years ago after their favorite B-movie video store, Unique Video in West Tampa, closed down. They wanted a place to celebrate "movies that didn't make any money," said Kent, 30. "Movies that people just stopped caring about." This is important, the guys said, because many popular films are based on or allude to forgotten cult flicks. For instance, the 1980 comedy Airplane! was actually a spoof of Zero Hour!, a 1957 disaster movie.
On cultflicks.net, fans review, debate and innumerate the most awesomely bad films. Hot topics include 10 Bad Movies You Didn't Know You Loved, Top 5 Best and Worst Kevin Smith Moments and 5 Movies Better Left as Video Games.
Recently, inspired by the midnight movies of the 1970s, the guys approached Tampa Pitcher Show owner Wayne Valenti about hosting a cult film night at the Carrollwood cinema.
"They are really open-minded there," Kent said. "They show Rocky Horror Picture Show every two weeks, which is awesome to begin with." The theater also appealed because it has a full-liquor bar. Cult movies get better with beer goggles, the guys said.
If the first event is successful, they plan to screen cult films regularly, including locally produced B-movies by filmmakers like Marcus Koch, Josh Darling and Joel D. Wynkoop.
Cultflicks.net will accept donations. With the money, the guys hope to preserve more VHS films digitally and buy distribution rights to make full-length movies available online.
In the meantime, Ross-Munro, Kent and Martinez will keep scouring flea markets and 99-cent bins on their original mission.
Said 30-year-old Martinez: "We wanted to find the worst movie ever made."