Andy Warhol’s Bad (1977)

Andy Warhol's Bad (1977) movie poster

director Jed Johnson
viewed: 01/17/2017

I don’t know how I never got around to seeing Andy Warhol’s Bad, directed by Jed Johnson, before. I’m actually a little fuzzy on the Andy Warhol-produced cult features that I HAVE seen. Even those would have been in the Eighties.

Bad is “like” John Waters, but also not quite like John Waters as well. Waters’s films are far more camp, more hilarious, less slick, less polished. But they share a sense of dark satire, not only of American culture, but of American genre films too. So cultural critique but also cinematic play. And a mordant sense of black humor.

Carroll Baker stars as the stay-at-home matriarch, clad in what would be even for the time a sort of retro-chic middle-Americana, who runs a DIY electrolysis clinic from her kitchen and a handy hit-person service by phone. Susan Tyrrell steals the show as her frumpy daughter-in-law who is constantly feeding her freakish baby whom she seems to be in utter horror of. Perry King enters the scene as a young hunk wanting to break into the assassin business, of whom Baker is not to certain, as she primarily employs women killers.

There is a lot more to it, but it’s sharp and funny, bizarre and cool. And campy, just a very different vibe than John Waters. Different but easily shelved next to him.

Pretty great, in my estimation.

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