I spent a good part of my weekend watching and rewatching Cool Cat Saves the Kids, a now-famous anti-bullying/gun safety video from the impressively untalented Derek Savage, author of the Cool Cat series of educational children’s books as well as other gun safety videos like Gun Self-Defense for Women (2016).
I won’t give away the particulars of this masterpiece — that’s for you to experience for yourself, in your own time. But I will say that this ‘movie’ scratched a very specific itch, an itch that takes pleasure in seeing a trainwreck unfold right before your eyes, a trainwreck full of good intentions and genuine effort.
Ever since the rise of consumer-grade video cameras in the late 1970s and 1980s, there have been countless would-be auteurs who had the resources to put together a movie, but not enough of those resources to make that movie good.
We all know the most famous examples, movies like The Room and Troll 2. We have experienced the confusion that comes with sitting through the whole thing, and the excitement that comes afterward, of wanting to share this gem with others. Such masterpieces have added fuel to an already thriving community whose members are a different breed of movie snobs. Instead of condescending to someone for never having seen anything by Godard or Lumet, these folks are more shocked to hear that you’ve never seen Miami Connection or Deadly Prey.
Digital technology has led to a renaissance age for good-bad movies. Any schmo can make a digital rip of a VHS they found at a garage sale, a VHS that may be the only existing copy of a 30-year-old passion project.
Many of the most well-known trash movies carry lore like this: found in an abandoned salt mine, found in a European castle, found in an unmarked box purchased on eBay for $2.00.
And while the most famous trainwreck movies eventually gain DVD and Blu Ray releases, many are never even uploaded to piracy sites. In an age when we thought every movie ever made had been digitized and made available to anyone with an internet connection, we are steadily realizing that much of the underground still hasn’t seen the light of day.
And the truth is, it’s exciting to be one of the few wading through these analog backlogs. It feels special, rarefied, a little douchey, but ultimately extremely rewarding.