Well, I'm headed off for a while. I probably won't be too involved with DKos for the next few days as I'll be spending time with the fam, away from that source of intolerable ass-hurt that I call my boss. Oh, how that man hurts me, deep down in my brain's heart.I've spent the past two nights staying up late drinking with Mrs. D, trying to get a grip on things.
So I need a little personal time. To kick this off, here's a diary I've been piecing together for a while now, adding items to it when they spring to my mind. This is the best worst dialogue from the best bad movies.
Your standards of what separates great dialogue from horrible dialogue are probably very different. I believe that line is a thin one. And sometimes it disappears entirely -- awful writing becomes something amazing. That is what this diary is dedicated to.
So I hope you enjoy this. I loved writing it.
"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum." --- Nada, "They Live"
This is my best example of a "so bad, you've got to love it" line of dialogue. And the fact that it's spoken by Rowdy Roddy Piper, an ex-pro wrestler, makes it even better. "They Live" is not the easiest movie to sit down and actually watch. It takes some dedication to fight your way through it because you're constantly reminded of how stupid it really is. Even so, I have a special place in my heart for it.
"First you wanna kill me, now you wanna kiss me. Blow." --- Ash, "Army of Darkness"
Here's a good example of bad dialogue that the filmmakers were aware of. Sam Raimi, who is now best known for his work on the "Spider-Man" movies, has a weird, shticky sense of humor. He loves "The Three Stooges" style slapstick comedy and crazy, over-the-top dialogue like the kind said by Ash (AKA: Bruce Campbell) in this and the other "Evil Dead" movies.
Of course, it's one thing to write bad dialogue. It's another to actually deliver it. And Bruce is in top form in this movie. I love the way he sits on this throne chomping on a turkey leg as he spits out this line (literally spits it out). If you haven't seen this movie yet, you should. The dialogue alone is worth the ticket.
"Stronger. You see? You see? Your stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!" --- Eros, "Plan 9 from Outer Space"
There's very little dignity to be found for any character in an Ed Wood movie, and Eros, the alien overlord from "Plan 9" is no exception. I love how this guy, who is supposed to be the leader of the alien invasion, goes to pieces and starts screaming at the humans.
In Tim Burton's "Ed Wood," Bill Murray helps recreate this scene while playing the flamboyant Bunny Breckenridge. Funny, funny stuff.
Torgo: There is nothing to fear, madam. The Master likes you. Nothing will happen to you. He likes you.
Margaret: Likes me? I thought you said he was dead.
Torgo: Dead? No, madam. Not dead the way you know it. He is with us always. Not dead the way you know it. He is with us always.
--- "Manos: The Hands of Fate"
As many people have noticed, the title of this movie actually translates to "Hands: The Hands of Fate." Even so, it has loads of fans who appreciate the fact that it may actually be the worst movie ever made. Quentin Tarantino brags that he has an original reel of the movie.
For some reason, the characters (including producer/writer/director/star Hal Warren) often repeat their lines within the same line of dialogue. For example: "She'll understand. She's my baby. She'll understand." I could understand maybe if you wanted to write one character as talking this way, but they all do it!
You'll also notice how eerie people's voices sound in this movie. That's because the camera they filmed with didn't have the ability to record sound, as the rumor goes. So they recorded all the dialogue in some tiny room with a bad echo in it. To make things even worse, they didn't have the entire cast to do it with. So there's maybe about 3 people doing the entire movie's dialogue.
Sheriff Freak: There're sandwiches for tonight! It'll go easier on you if you eat'em. Otherwise, we'll be forced to kill you VIOLENTLY!
Drugstore Owner: It would be a shame! The blood would mix with the meat, and we'd have to leave it in vinegar for the whole night!
--- "Troll 2"
This one is so packed with horrible and inexplicable dialogue that it was hard to pick a favorite. The runners up have to do with a character who literally pisses all over dinner and something about someone threatening someone else with a bologna sandwich.
But that's just the kind of movie "Troll 2" is. The first sense that you get that something is very wrong with this movie is the fact that despite the title, there are no trolls in the movie. The monsters are referred to as "goblins." But if you've seen this one, you know that this is the movie's smallest flaw.
Daniel Challis: What is this place?
Conal Cochran: Can't you tell? A vast... Ancient technology. Ha ha ha, a good magician never explains. Come on, then, you've still got time to figure it out all by yourself.
Conal Cochran: From an ancient, sacrificial circle... Stonehenge. Ha ha. We had a time getting it here. You wouldn't believe how we did it.
--- "Halloween III: Season of the Witch"
Dr. No has nothing on the character from this movie from the "Halloween" series. Those who've seen it know that it is the only "Halloween" movie to not include Michael Myers as the villain. The producers felt that the slasher storyline had worn itself out and wanted to try something different. Instead of Michael (who made a prompt return in the fourth movie), we get an Irish businessman who tries to kill children on Halloween by using Halloween masks with small pieces of the Stonehenge monument in them. You heard me.
And this line is the most infuriating part of the whole affair. This is his explanation of how his ludicrously farfetched plot for mass murder was accomplished. This bit of dialogue is the only explanation you get from him! "A good magician never explains?" Yeah, but a good scriptwriter usually does!
Melissa: "This is where the fish lives." --- "Touch of Satan"
Of course, nobody would know about this movie if not for "MST3K." I think moves like this one exist to prove to people that "Plan 9" is not the worst movie ever made. Steeped in the '70s, this attempt at a supernatural thriller is about a wandering nobody in a muscle car who meets a farmgirl who is really the devil.
I really don't know how this line made it into the final cut of the movie. Either the filmmakers wanted us to know that the pond Melissa was referring to held only a single fish, or the actress botched a line and the film's budget was too tight to justify going back to correct it.
Well, that's that. Please submit your own favorites!
Merry Christmas, and keep circulating the tapes!