Low budget, poorly acted, poorly written, bad direction. These are just some of the things that describe horrible movies, TV shows, books you name. Of course, there are those that have these qualities and people love them.
This is called so bad it’s good or shlock.
There is plenty of shlock around. TVtropes.org has an entire section on this. There’s more crap in there than a barn.
Of course, there are two types of shlock. There’s good shlock and there’s bad shlock.
Good shlock falls into that so bad, it’s good category. Some of the more popular forms of good shlock are Army of Darkness and Plan 9 from Outer Space. Books and video games even have shlock. Goosebumps come quickly to mind.
Don’t leave yet. Hear me out.
Yes, Goosebumps is intended for twelve year olds, but it has all the trappings of good shlock. Hell, a lot of the books are based off of those shlocky horror movies. Just look at some of the titles: Night of the Living Dummy, The Werewolf of Fever Swamp, The Blob that Ate Everyone. They take these monster movies and just make them “age appropriate” (as in make the main characters twelve year olds.) They’re also not well written and are pretty the same story told over again.
In video games there’s The House of the Dead games, those beat-em-ups from the early nineties and, dare I say, any survival horror games.
These are all low quality stuff, so why do we love them so? Simple: they have something in them that make us laugh so hard we almost cry. Not to mention they’re just dumb fun. Oh, and then there’s that whole escaping reality thing.
“But wait a minute,” you’re saying. “Isn’t every medium an escape from reality?” Yes, but shlock takes that to an extreme. You see, “good” movies, books and video games have some foothold on reality that you can say that might happen, Good shlock just takes everything you know about the world and wipe its ass with it. It takes them to such an extreme that you say “that’s just so ridiculous it’s practically funny.”
Of course, there’s bad shlock. It’s those that are so bad, it’s bad. They have all the trappings of shlock but they are such colossal failures at it. The one that quickly comes to mind is anything by Uwe Boll. This guy doesn’t understand why people like shlock. His movies are devoid of any fun, comedy are anything else that makes good shlock. In fact, this guy thinks he’s an awesome director and anyone who thinks otherwise had to fight him in a boxing match. Yes, this is real.
In fact, bad shlock is just bad writing altogether. Just look at A Vampire Christmas Carol (yes, THAT exists) or any book that takes a Victorian Era novel and adds monsters to them. These writers try to put a weird spin on these classics by adding monsters, but they come across more like bad fanfiction than anything else.
In conclusion, enjoy your shlock because it feels good. Just make sure it’s the good shlock kind. The stuff that you used to see on Mystery Science Theater 3000 are the stuff that deserves a night with your friends, some popcorn and bad pizza (Dominoes, Papa Johns) and just have one hell of a good time.