Ashland’s ephemeral, irreverent and often uproarious Bad Film Society will be taking a deep dive into joyful mockery of America’s much-loved Star Wars phenomenon on the 40th anniversary of Luke, Leia, Yoda, Darth, R2D2, C3PO, Chewbacca and Han Solo.
Put on every few months, the Bad Film Society shows geeky, corny movies from past decades, especially fancying horror and sci-fi from the '50s, says Ed Poland, who founded the event with John Javna in 2000.
It starts with a potluck at 6 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 7, in the Ashland Elks "Dungeon" (downstairs room) and typically draws 20 to 50 people. The audience is encouraged to loosen up, hoot and comment and become more than passive spectators.
This week's event and main movie explore the huge impact of Star Wars on our culture. Poland explains the main movie:
“A crack team of programmers from Los Angeles has searched through every corner of the galaxy and the darkest parts of the internet to find the rarest brain-frying tributes, rip offs, cross promotions gone wrong, vintage toy and foreign commercials, fan films, comedy sketches, found footage, outtakes, political references, news clips and more.
“Every single one of the barrage of clips is fascinating in its own right. The effect, in the end, is kind of a documentary film about the ubiquitous sensation that movie became, the ridiculous responses people had to it, and all the ways in which it was embraced. This will blow your mind, bring a smile to your face, renew or destroy your faith in humanity, may or may not be hazardous to your health and just might change your life.”
Also shown will be rare, entertaining and weird shorts, cartoons and trailers, he says, as well as commercials on Star Wars yogurt, tissue and Chewbacca chewing gum — plus interviews with crazed fans who’ve seen it over 100 times, home movies made by using Star Wars action toys, the actors cooking on a “Today” show segment and even an anti-smoking campaign that sold its message with Star Wars.
“Our model is the 'Mystery Science Theater' (see it on YouTube). The films have to be bad, but also fun and entertaining,” he says. “We try not to bore anyone. People can comment and be irreverent. It’s perfectly OK to speak up and make fun.”
Poland, a Pennsylvania native, has a novelty magnet sticker business, which started in 1980 and markets over the world. He moved to Ashland from San Francisco in 1991, when he realized he could do a wholesale business “in a small town and have fun living in a rural community that still has culture and Ashland is one of the few places that have that. I also came for the weird people and have made a lot of friends doing this.”
A $4 (or more) donation is suggested to pay for space in the Elks Club. You enter by the rear, on Will Dodge Way. To get email notifications of BFS movies, send a request to him at email@example.com.
— John Darling is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.