Film: Fun-sized Filipino James Bond & 12-hour action movie marathon

Robin Askew, June 16, 2017

In a flurry of announcements, the estimable Bristol Bad Film Club has unveiled two more events for its packed Summer programme. We’re also reliably informed that the baddest of all bad movie directors is coming to town to preview footage from his new film. Watch this space for more on that when it’s confirmed. In the meantime, here are those dates for your bad movie diary. Follow the links for further information and ticket details.

The Search for Weng Weng + director Q&A
Bristol Improv Theatre, Aug 8
In something of a break with tradition, the BBFC’s August selection isn’t actually a bad film but a documentary about the extraordinary story of a star of bad films. A couple of years ago, the BBFC screened For Y’ur Height Only, which made actor Weng Weng‘s name as “the Filipino James Bond”. Weng, whose real name was Ernesto de la Cruz, stood just 2′ 9″ tall because of primordial dwarfism. But his diminutive stature didn’t prevent him becoming the most famous Filipino celebrity of his generation. That, however, was nearly 40 years ago. Whatever happened to Weng Weng?

That’s what Australian filmmaker Andrew Leavold set out to discover in his long-gestating documentary, The Search for Weng Weng. Leavold spent 20 years trying to track down his subject, and a further seven making the film. We’ll leave you discover the story’s secrets for yourself, suffice it to say that Variety‘s approving review noted that Leavold’s film is an “entertaining, good-humoured yet respectful homage to a unique exploitation-film figure.” The director will be present for a Q&A after this screening as part of a tour to promote his tie-in book of the same title.

Genregeddon: Action
Winston Theatre, University of Bristol, Sept 2
With tickets for the BBFC’s Arniegeddon Austrian Oak triple-bill close to selling out, they’ve now confirmed this borderline insane, bum-numbing 12 hour marathon of Action B-movies. Supported by Arrow video, Genregeddon: Action comprises seven films featuring such titans of the genre as Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Carl Weathers, Michael Dudikoff, Brandon Lee and, er,  Roger Moore. If you’re hard enough to handle it, admission is a bargain £20 (that’s around 15p per explosion by our back-of-a-fag-packet calculation).

Not enough bad movie action for you? Here’s a brief reminder of the rest of the BBFC’s summer bounty of badness, in date order:

The Divine Enforcer
Bristol Improv Theatre, June 22
For the BBFC’s June feast of cinematic ineptitude, here’s a film fully deserving of the exclamation, “Holy crap!” Yep, it’s the tale of a martial arts god-botherer who gets all Old Testament on the asses of scumbags and vampires alike. Michael M. Foley (star of Desert Kickboxer, no less) gets the title role of Father Daniel – a psychic priest who becomes so disgruntled with lawlessness on the streets of LA that he decides to take practical measures to deal with the drug-dealing scum. Specifically, he uses his impressive martial arts skills to whup huge quantities of bottom, aided by crucifix blades and a natty gold handgun with a cross on the handle. Then he encounters scenery-chewing vampire serial killer Don Stroud…

This one’s especially naff even by the low standards of straight-to-video back in 1992. Which means, of course, that it’s also enormous fun.

Zone Troopers
Wardrobe Theatre, July 27
It’s 1944, and a bunch of American GIs are trapped behind enemy lines in Italy, where they stumble upon a Martian rocket ship. The pilot is dead, but a space alien passenger is on the loose. Even Adolf Hitler turns up for the ensuing romp.

Reuniting many of the cast and crew of Trancers, this 1985 aliens vs Nazis smackdown isn’t quite as tooth-grindingly awful as most Bristol Bad film Club offerings. Indeed, it’s rather good fun, in a cheesy, low-budget kinda way and has become such a cult item that it was recently remastered for blu-ray release in the US.

Arniegeddon

Winston Theatre, University of Bristol, July 29

The BBFC‘s new series of themed Genregeddon movie marathon nights kicks off with a triple-bill of Arnold Schwarzenegger flicks to celebrate the Austrian Oak’s 70th birthday. Which ones? That’s a surprise. See our news story here for more.

Night of the Lepus
Windmill Hill City Farm, Aug 31
We all know what happens when foolish, arrogant Homo sapiens starts meddling with Mother Nature, right? So when a bunch of boffins in Arizona pump cute little bunny rabbits full of hormones, it’s only a matter of time before they mutate into enormous carnivorous killers. Thrill as ordinary buns rampage cutely through model villages! Larf as you spot Psycho‘s Janet Leigh and Bones from Star Trek (DeForest Kelly, for it is he) pretending to be terrorised!

This cult 1972 horror flick set itself an enormous challenge in attempting to make these lovable herbivores scary. That it fails so miserably makes it even more fun. Profits from Bristol Bad Film Club‘s annual outdoor screening will be shared between Windmill Hill City Farm and Holly Hedge animal sanctuary.

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