Behind the Scenes: Studio 35’s bad movie master

  • Photo by Meghan Ralston
From the December 6, 2012 edition

One night every week Scott Hammond and a dozen of his closest friends get together at one of their houses to watch a bad movie. They’ve done this for the past six years.

Actually, for a little less than two years they only get together for this tradition three times a month. The fourth week they watch a bad movie with an entire Studio 35 audience.

Hammond is the B-film-extraordinaire curator behind the Clintonville theater’s monthly Bad Movie Nite! events.

“What’s totally great about bad movies is they’re a little more daring,” Hammond said. “They have to fight for your dollar a little more. They have less prestige so they just give you the goods — nudity, blowing stuff up, preposterous story lines.”

Hammond got the bad movie itch while watching USA Network’s “Up All Night” series in the ’80s. He and his wife now own about 500 movies and a basement brimming with old VHS tapes, footage from which he and his friends use when making the parody mash-ups and retro commercial roundups that play during Bad Movie Nite! showings.

Bad, Hammond will have you know, is an art.

“When I say a bad movie, I mean bad by definition but it doesn’t mean that movie is unwatchable,” said Hammond, a particular fan of any direct-to-video Nic Cage project; a UFO-, Big Foot-, Zombie-encountering George Kennedy in “Demonwarp”; and the ridiculous otherworldly sex romp of “Dr. Alien.”

In real life Hammond likes any movie with Walter Matthau and is a huge fan of Andy Griffith.

His extensive movie-watching has made him “a bad movie encyclopedia,” a party-trick perk that makes him a fountain of useless but fun cinematic knowledge.

One time he and his bad-movie watching posse had a marathon of the fourth edition of various movie series (“Rocky,” “Superman,” “Lethal Weapon”). The fourth “Jaws” was his favorite. It “looks like a TV remake of the original,” Hammond lectured with a laugh, and THE Michael Caine missed accepting his Oscar (for “Hannah and Her Sisters”) because he was busy filming the flop.

The ultimate marker for so-bad-they’re-good movies: Hammond said, “Bad movies always have heart.”