Carnival of Curiosity: the Matinee…of PAIN

Unaccountably, multiple people suggested this for our fundraiser: make me sit through some awful, atrocious bit of media while everyone watches me. The form was vague, I think the appeal was entirely in making me weep.

I’ve scheduled it, but we have to get the details down now, and I have questions.

  • OK, what media? I suspect no one was thinking of an Attenborough documentary. Make suggestions! The constraints are that it’s got to be something accessible, so a YouTube something or other, or Netflix. Something by Ray Comfort (boring!), Pureflix (too easy),a horror movie (I might enjoy it), a superhero thingie (I’d probably hate it)? Name things in the comments.
  • Am I supposed to do this alone? Anyone else you’d like to drag down to hell with me? Company might make it more entertaining.

  • How? It should be streamed to YouTube for the greatest reach, but I could set up something with OBS and/or Discord, or even Zoom. Give me ideas!

This is definitely a rough work in progress, but here’s where you can watch whatever abomination we cobble together.

And remember, this is a fundraiser.

Hmmm. Maybe I should auction off the right to name the media, or to share a spot in the matinee with me?


  1. johnhattan says

    Maybe something with really bad spider and/or octopus science, like “Giant Spider Invasion” or “Octoman”. That way you can go full Neil DeGrasse Tyson “THERE IS NO SOUND IN SPACE” all over it.

  2. says

    So like a PZ and Friends do some MST3K riffing on a film? I mean, it’s gotta be “so bad it’s good” to work effectively…

    … maybe The Giant Spider Invasion (both MST3K and Rifftrax have done it, but I’d still watch you watch it)?

  3. Stuart Smith says

    Milton Friedman is mostly my answer on the “Who would you go back in time and kill” question. Way worse than Hitler.

  4. hemidactylus says

    Shatner in Kingdom of the Spiders. Someone could keep repeating “Denny Crane” while another screams “Khaaaaaannnnn!” Don’t recall any TJ Hooker.

    Or nonstop loop of Meshuggah videos. That would do me in pretty fast.

  5. blf says

    Danger Mouse AAGGHG Spiders (youtube), albeit possibly fails the “awful, atrocious” criterion. However, far more considered, intelligent, and plausible then most modern …well… than Ray “Bananaman” Comfort. (So is, of course, a screenful of static.)

  6. birgerjohansson says

    To identify a properly crappy B-film before comitting yourself, watch “Brandon’s Cult Movie Reviews” är Youtube.
    You first need to differentiate between “bad but fun” films like “Starcrash” , “Life Force” and “Godzilla versus Biolante” and “bad and boring” films, like….religious B films. And b-films without the budget to be cheesy.
    My recommedation for the first category is Lifeforce, with an alien possessing Sir Patrick Stewart.
    My recommedation for the latter category is either “Abby,- The Devil is Her Lover Now” or “International Guerrillas”.
    the first is about Christians interacting with a demon, the latter is about Good Muslims fighting a Bond villain possessing evil superpowers: Salman Rushdie!

  7. birgerjohansson says

    “Creature” -also known as “Titan Find” has a pretty scary Klaus Kinski enlivening an otherwise mediocre Alien cash-in.
    “Gunhed” is an artless cyberpunk film, but with good models. It was used for the music video for “Mindphaser 12”

    “The Omega Code” -a Christian film about the coming Armageddon- is hilarious in an unintended way. Wossname Ironside plays the enforcer for antichrist.

  8. birgerjohansson says

    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 has Dennis Hopper as a completely bonkers guy tracking down the cannibals. He must have been paid in cocaine.

  9. PaulBC says

    I grew up “enjoying” repeat viewings of many bad movies in the 1970s on a then already old B/W console TV, which I would argue is the only way to appreciate this form of art. The kids today are really missing out.

    For some reason I was recent trying to remember the one involving the severed head of an evil pirate (and something to do with Sir Francis Drake). Through the modern magic of web search I found The Thing that Wouldn’t Die. This is not to be confused with The Brain that Wouldn’t Die also involving a severed head. I see the latter has already received MST3K treatment, so both of these may be old news.

    When I watched these kinds of movies as a kid, I admit I found them entertaining and even scary at times. (Maybe the way a ghost story told at a camp fire is scary. It’s not about budget or acting.)

  10. PaulBC says

    One of the most mystifying educational films I saw in grade school was simply called “Schlieren” and covered . It’s safe to say that neither the teacher nor any students had any idea what the point of this movie was or why we were seeing it (the teacher needed to kill some time I guess).

    I have to admit I thought it was pretty cool, despite being as confused as everyone else. It would be interesting to track that down along with other documentaries shown in school and nobody knows why. Maybe that was purely a 70s phenom.

    (I would skip the Catholic film strips though, even if the theme song is stuck in my head and remarkably I cannot find a reference anywhere on the net.)

  11. birgerjohansson says

    More tools for tracking down really bad films. “God Awful Movies”- usually just abbreviated “GAM” at youtube- have detailed (and quite funny, they are stand-up comedians) reviews of religious or new age / anti-science films and documentaries.
    A good starting point is “God Awful Movies 59: Vaxxed” .

  12. says

    I strongly suggest having a whiteboard available, and on camera (pre-focused, naturally), for the math and diagrams. That will be almost as entertaining as the snark!

    From the horror category: Eight-Legged Freaks (together with a planned presentation on the square-cube law and another one on size-based digestive system adaptations)

    From the children’s category: The Good Dinosaur (both kinds there: bad science and bad ethnocentric anthropomorphism)

    And the lightning round: Any Drumpf campaign speech, spotting every counterscientific error. If there’s room on the whiteboard to list them all…

  13. birgerjohansson says

    Gene Wilder: “Gregor Samsa wakes up and discovers he has been transformed to a giant cockroach….”
    Zero Mostel: “No. That one is too good.”
    “Without Warning” has both Jack Palance and Martin Landau in a very cheap film hunting an evil alien killing people in the boondocks.
    “Vultures of Horror” is a very, very cheap Nigerian …thing , including folk beliefs about magic, and it would show we are inclusive, but it is a bit too boring.
    Maybe one of the Turkish superhero knockoff films? They even have two Turkish Superman films.
    An Italian Jaws knockoff?
    The Hong Kong “War God” is abominable…..

  14. birgerjohansson says

    Korean Supergirl/Superwoman ?
    A Mexican film involving vampires and luchadors? If you can imagine it, it exists out there.
    And a bazillion Christian films, both “documentaries” and intended drama/ de facto comedies.

  15. birgerjohansson says

    Your evil telepathic powers have caused God Awful Movies to release another atheist film review, just a few minutes ago!
    “GAM 265 Adams Testament ”
    …the devil sits at the back of a…sedan? He is the devil, why could he not afford a limo?

  16. PaulBC says

    And a bazillion Christian films, both “documentaries” and intended drama/ de facto comedies.

    I saw some awful thing in a hotel room once about a college student who had a recurring dream of some guy reaping wheat with a scythe and somehow got into a conversation with… a professor? a minister?… about how his dream was clearly predicting an imminent apocalypse. It was pretty bad and should have been boring, but I watched it in a kind of a fascination. I think there was a climactic scene where he had to prove something (again, to a skeptical professor, not sure) and all he had was an incredibly inane sequence of numerological connections that in the context of the show was absolutely compelling and left the audience dumbfounded. Now I wonder if I can find out what I saw. It could have been made in the 90s or early 2000s.

  17. captainjack says

    Maybe you can eat the veggie equivalent of hot wings while you’re watching. Barbecue tofu? Popcorn sprinkled with cayenne?

  18. DanDare says

    “Knowing” with Nicholas Cage.
    Atheist (as defined by theists) professor finds clues to armageddon while alien/angel things go after the kids (boy and girl) to take them and repopulate a new earth with friendly lions and stuff.

  19. birgerjohansson says

    To save PZ’s sanity, I suggest cheesy films where a lot of things happen, even if the acting and production values are horrible.
    Films like ‘Miami Connection’ or ‘I Drink Your Blood’ are bad as fuck, but you can still have fun watching them.
    Unfunny comedies should be avoided. I do not actually hate PZ. Those films are for Trump, or for zombie Milton Freeman. Case in point: ‘Queen Kong’.

  20. crocswsocks says

    There’s an excellent all-ages cartoon (read: kid’s show that adults like) on Netflix called “Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts.” A major aspect of it is diversity and representation, not as something that’s hammered home, but just as part of the fabric of the show. It’s definitely a feel-good experience, and not something PZ would usually watch.

  21. birgerjohansson says

    An example of what awaits PZ;
    “Brandon’s Cult Movie Reviews: -Infra-Man” will provide you with a short but enjoyable look at the very weird world of Hong Kong films. A superhero/kung fu/ monster/ science fiction movie.
    The baddies are led by….Princess Dragon Mom. Monsters made by rubber.
    Category: weird as fuck but enjoyable.
    -Religion: “Day When Sun Rises In The West; Film That Shook World” by islamic film makers..
    -Weird, boring films; “Rat Pfink A Boo Boo” from USA.

  22. Stevko says

    Too bad Troma seems to have removed their films from Youtube. And I do not think Polonia Brothers have their stuff easily accessible (go read the review of their film Feeders 2 at Something Awful – it is really funny). For something slightly more serious, Jorg Buttgereit’s Nekromantik (or Nekromantik 2, or more serious Der Todesking) would be nice.

    But if you want accessible, then… Ozone! Attack of the Redneck Mutants (seems to be available on Youtube).

    And I just found out that some of Troma’s films are on For example Poultrygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead.

  23. Ray, rude-ass yankee - One inseparable gemisch says

    At first glance I though this said “Manatee of Pain” and was very confused wondering what large, fully aquatic, mostly herbivorous marine mammals sometimes known as sea cows ever did to you? Only upon further reading did I realize my mistake. Although Monday Manatee Matinee Madness would be a cool title for a niche show. I can definitely second a recommendation for “God Awful Movies” They are funny as hell.