What does six dollars on Saturday night get you at the Lyric Cinema Café? Well, a really bad movie.
See, on one Saturday night of every month, Fort Collins’ very own Lyric Cinema Café hosts Bad Movie Nite. It is a night dedicated to celebrating truly horrific films. The catch is that the Lyric does not announce what film is going to be screened. Every show is a surprise and you never know what straight-to-VHS piece of garbage is going to be projected on the big screen. Kind of like a bad movie holiday or something.
You may ask: why would anyone pay six bucks just to watch something that is going to be awful? Well, what you are buying with those six precious George Washington’s is a night of magic. Bad movie magic. I am sure we can all think of a great movie that has made an immense impact on our lives, changing how we look at the world and cinema itself. But there is something about bad movies that may just be even more powerful than just perfect pictures.
Bad Movie Nite is an occasion that brings all different types of people together in one place to mock and make fun of films that have truly gone awry. Spectators are encouraged to make commentary on their own “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” No one is going to get shushed here.
However, these movies are not the normal type of bad like “Paul Blart Mall Cop.” The ones shown at the Lyric are the cream of the crop when it comes to cheap effects and cheesy acting. Usually, you can bet on seeing some rubber suit monsters hastily made zombies or some type of ridiculous looking alien on screen. Most of the films have not even been shown in theaters, only showing up in thrift store movie sections.
Before each showing, the Lyric shows clips of movies from Bad Movie Nites’ past all in anticipation for the upcoming flick of the night. The reel shows clips of cult movie fan favorites like “Samurai Cop,” “Kingdom of the Spiders,” “The Dallas Connection,” “Chopping Mall” and many more.
On the Saturday Feb. 18, I attended a screening where a crowd of filmgoers and I saw a movie called “Terror Squad.” Released in 1988, “Terror Squad” is about a group of terrorists that attack the quaint town of Kokomo, Indiana. Why Kokomo of all places? Who knows? Even characters in the movie marvel at the absurdity of attacking such an unassuming town.
The film contains more explosions than anyone could keep track of, and each burst of flames was met with soaring laughter from the audience. Brutal deaths litter the movie as well, and each time someone kicked the bucket the audience would let out a remorseful “oh” or shout “whoa” if a death was particularly surprising.
The terrorists in the film’s lead Kokomo’s finest on a police chase that runs an absurdly long time as the sequence is by far the longest one out of any part in the film. It is the chase that never ends, and we see water towers and factory chimneys fall, helicopters explode and countless causalities are left in the streets. All of these were met with audience gasping and constant comedic remarks.
The most surprising aspect of it all was just how great everything looked. All of the stunts were very impressive and a lot of work went into creating massive destructible set pieces for the movie. In a way, a lot of “Terror Squad” was pretty enjoyable. The characters were hilariously one-dimensional stereotypes of teenage characters as the movie tried its best to emulate the “Breakfast Club” but with a whole lot more death.
It is the Lyric that has continuously made an environment for film-snobs to gather and share a bad experience with each other. In what theater is the audience actually expected to shout and provide its own commentary? Bad Movie Nite is just another event that solidifies the Lyric Cinema Café’s place in the film-lover community.