Bad movies.

Why do they make us so happy?

Mind you, I’m not talking about the weekly slog of sub-par, uninspired Hollywood junk here. Nobody’s going to derive any kind of enjoyment from a “Letters to Juliet” or an “All About Steve.” They just make people sad and sort of logy.

No, I’m talking bad movies.

“Manos, the Hands of Fate,” “Troll 2,” the oeuvre of Ed Wood Jr. entire, plus recent contenders “The Room” and “Birdemic.” Movies so inept, so ill-conceived, so ridiculously imbued with a completely misguided sense of their own quality that a sort of dazed, giddy perverse appreciation results, sending your mockery glands into overdrive.

Just ask the Geek Chorus.

Formed this year by Portland men-about-town The Fuge, Kevin “Boo” Leavitt and Gerald “The 3rd Element” Walker, the Geek Chorus is Portland’s very own “Mystery Science Theater 3000” (the beloved cult series in which three wiseacres stave off boredom and insanity by making hilarious fun of truly awful movies).

Based at Geno’s, 625 Congress St., the members of the Chorus carry on the proud tradition of joyful joshing of the worst (public domain) films of all time on the first Monday of every month.

Taking their seats in front of microphones facing a screen on Geno’s stage — adult beverages at the ready — the Chorus recently performed the impossible, to the delight of the 40 or so audience members in attendance: they made “Starcrash” entertaining.

A low-budget, Italian-made cash-in on the lucrative “Star Wars” gravy train, “Starcrash” (1979) can boast cheap special effects, bad dubbing, lots of eyeliner, bewilderingly crotch-centric space jumpsuits, and a cast including former televangelist-turned charisma-challenged exploitation star Marjoe Gortner, David Hasselhoff and an embarrassed-looking Christopher Plummer.

The Geek Chorus treatment is one of cheerful, beery, film-geek mockery. At the first sight of the suspiciously Christmas-light-looking stars, one member called out, “Effects by Industrial Lite-Brite and Magic!” and later suggested that a less-than-impressive spaceship was “made out of Cheetos.” Observing that Plummer seemed perhaps less than enthused about his part in the whole enterprise, another imitated him, saying, “You want me to stand up and act? That’ll cost ya“

The jokes were rapid-fire and scattershot hilarious, with references to the likes of Ric Flair, “The Human Centipede” and, of course, the Hoff. I had a ball.

For film fans, “MST3K” fans, and, of course, crap cinema aficionados everywhere, the Geek Chorus is just the antidote for the summer movie blues.

The Geek Chorus returns to Geno’s at 8 p.m. July 5. Go to for more info.


Dennis Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.


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