Grace Jordan, arts & living editor
Award shows like The Academy Awards have been around for decades and celebrates those who have created and starred in exceptional movies. Yet, bad movies are put on the back burner and do not get as much recognition. Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Clinton Peters recently began Bad Movie Night at Berry. This is a monthly event that features bad movies of Peters and his audiences choosing.
This event did not originate at Berry. According to Peters, while in graduate school, a friend of his began this tradition of a bad movie night and asked Peters to join. He first went to support his friend but enjoyed the event so much that he made it a tradition.
“I went to one of these every month during most of my PhD career, which was like five years,” Peters said. “A group of friends and I would drive an hour each way to go to one of these screenings. That’s how much we enjoyed it.”
Peters wanted to continue this tradition at Berry. He no longer was a part of the community he had spent five years with and decided to recreate the event for himself and students.
“I came to Berry and I was like, ‘I don’t have that’ and I wanted to replicate that for students,” Peters said. “Because when I would go to these screenings, I felt part of a different kind of community. You would see the same people every time, so you would talk after the movie and compare, or if you missed a movie, you would ask them about the last movie. I had so much fun and joy and love.”
According to Peters, Bad Movie Night at Berry had an easy beginning. The dean at the time, Tom Kennedy, was more than willing to host Bad Movie Night in Evans and Peters utilized word of mouth for his first viewing.
“I asked the previous dean if he would be okay doing this,” Peters said. “Maybe I got him on a good day, because I thought he was going to say no. But, he said yes. So, I booked it through the reservation system and me and my student worker, Sarah Vest, made some posters. We just did it gorilla style, just told people.”
Last Thursday, Oct. 28, Peters hosted this semester’s second Bad Movie Night with “Roar,” a movie that follows a woman and her family as they fly to Africa and meet a scientist who lives alongside wild animals. During the making of the movie, there were approximately 150 wild animals on set and only a handful of trainers. According to Peters, the audience thoroughly enjoyed what has been coined “the most dangerous movie ever made.”
“‘Roar’ went swimmingly,” Peters said. “Lots of laughter and jaws hanging wide open. I knew people were really into it when everyone just shut up for about 30 minutes and just stared at the screen in awe. I let people talk during the bad movies and even encourage it because it’s fun and builds camaraderie, and these movies are made to be talked at. But ‘Roar’ is really mind bending in a way that is unlike anything else. The whole movie is just one big stunt with everyone’s life at stake.”
Junior Lindsay Duffy frequents Bad Movie Night and has gone to every showing. According to Duffy, the atmosphere of the event is unlike other movie screenings hosted at Berry. People yell, scream and laugh. There is almost constant chatter and a sense of togetherness at the viewings, Duffy said.
“I’ve been going to it since the first one last year,” Duffy said. “It’s very fun, very much a lax atmosphere. You shout at the screen, you yell, you jeer. Everyone is talking, laughing. It is very comradery.”
The affair is not comprised of just watching a movie, because Peters also explains the history of the movie to the audience and the movie is then followed by a discussion. Peters makes popcorn and students are allowed to bring outside snacks.
“He has a presentation beforehand,” Duffy said. “He’ll talk about the movie, the history of it and why it’s bad. And after there’s always a discussion.”
There will be a third Bad Movie Night this semester on Thursday, Nov. 18. Peters will be screening the holiday movie, “Elves” (1989) in the Evans auditorium. The movie features a young woman who discovers she is the focus of a Nazi world takeover plan involving her mother, magic, incest and an evil elf. Bring some snacks and some friends for the final Bad Movie Night of the semester.