Bad

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Bad

Comedy, Horror | 105 mins | Released: 1977
Director: Jed Johnson
Starring: Cyrinda Foxe, Matthew Anton, Cathy Roskam, Carroll Baker, Susan Tyrell, Mary Boylan, Gordon Oas-Heim
Our Rating: 7
Color

The film focuses on Hazel Aiken (Carroll Baker), a hairdresser who runs a beauty salon in her house and makes extra money by providing hitmen with hit jobs. The narrative includes multiple side-plots pertaining to characters involved in these crimes.

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Movie Notes:

Andy Warhol‘s Bad is a 1977 comedy film, directed by Jed Johnson, starring Carroll Baker, Perry King and Susan Tyrrell.

It was written by Pat Hackett and George Abagnalo, and was the last film produced by Andy Warhol before his death in 1987.

The opening screening in May 1977 attracted over 750 people, including Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson, Julie Christie, and George Cukor.

Tyrrell won the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance.

Shelley Winters originally turned down the role of Hazel Aiken – probably the only film role she ever rejected.

Vivian Vance also turned down the role of Hazel. Vance felt it would damage her image amongst fans that flocked to theaters to see her whenever she appeared in a play.

Ricky Nelson and Andy Warhol protégé Jackie Curtis were considered for the role ultimately played by Perry King.

Reviews:
“BAD” IS NOT JUST GOOD, IT’S GREAT!
Author: Dave Godin (Dave G) from Sheffield, England – 24 September 1999
“Although Andy Warhol’s association with this movie was merely nominal, the late Jed Johnson and his screenplay writers produced, (whether consciously or not hardly matters), one of the truly subversive masterpieces of American cinema. It is a more devastating critique of capitalism than any film ever produced by the so-called communist countries, and it forces us to face so many different issues, and ask ourselves just what we have collectively allowed our society to become. (Britain, by the way, is rapidly catching up in this respect; we usually trail the US by about five years in such matters!). It is too, one of the most strangely MORAL films, peopled, (with one exception), with characters so hideous, or selfish, or self-seeking, or ruthless, or just plain cruel, that empathy is thin on the ground, and yet the exception, (the docile, trusting, slightly naive, and conventionally “plain” and “square” Mary; was that name deliberately chosen for its symbolic value I wonder?), emerges as the true survivor, whose basic humane values are so cogently reflected in her closing line of the film, “Looks aren’t everything”. All the values that we are brainwashed into believing are “sharp”, “hip” or “cool” are turned on their head, and even more amazingly, one of the ultimate messages that this remarkable film delivers, edges very close to an anarchist philosophy, that meaningful change and revolution has first to start with the individual, and that conventional “values” are hollow and riddled with hypocrisy if those espousing them are secretly pursuing hidden agendas of their own. (Step forward all the various “gate” participants of the last few decades..!). Certainly not a film for the squeamish, (how could the American ratings board or any caring parent allow children to watch such a movie?), but a film which I am sure the passage of time will show to be one of the most important American films ever. It really is that good! Technical credits are all outstanding too, (a brilliant score by the late Mike Bloomfield which fits the sleazy overall mood like a glove), and a performance from Carroll Baker that is worthy of an award. Approach this film with an open mind and some lateral thinking, and you too might discover that it is an unexpected revelation. A masterpiece!”

Offensive and hilarious
Author: Casey-52 from DVD Drive-In – 27 May 2000
“Andy Warhol’s Bad is probably one of my top ten favorite comedies. Imagine a John Waters movie and make it ten times more offensive! Great stuff! This is quite a turn from director Paul Morrissey’s underground improvisation opuses, but isn’t a bad change. Carroll Baker is great as Hazel Aiken, a lady who runs an electrolysis clinic in her home and a murder-for-hire business on the side, utilizing only female killers (save for new employee Perry King). Baker is fabulous and reminded me of Kathleen Turner in “Serial Mom”, just without the constant happiness. Susan Tyrell is great as Hazel’s daughter-in-law Mary, who spends her life residing in Hazel’s house caring for her baby. Always looking frumpy and whiny, Tyrell is hilarious! I see now why John Waters seeked her out for a part in “Cry-Baby”! Perry King is a painfully obvious Joe Dallesandro replacement. Reportedly Dallesandro turned down the part for work in Europe, which unfortunately didn’t lead to anything that helped his career. He would have been perfect here and would have acted with/had another sex scene with one-time girlfriend Stefania Casini (they had worked together in “Blood for Dracula”). Casini’s Italian accent is thankfully left intact and is very sexy as a redheaded assassin. Also making an appearance is early Warhol regular Brigid Polk as Estelle, a bitchy fat lady who wants cop Lawrence Tierney’s dog killed for something he said about her weight! Jane Forth is almost unrecognizable as a screaming passerby who is splattered with blood when a woman throws her baby out the window! As you can tell from these examples, “Andy Warhol’s Bad” is not for everyone. For those with a very broad taste in humor and those not easily offended.”

A Satiric Masterpiece
Author: junagadh75 from seattle, WA – 27 May 2002
“Andy Warhol’s Bad concerns a rapacious middle-age housewife in NYC who runs an electrolysis business and a murder-for-hire (with only female employees) business out of her home. There are various subplots, involving her hired assassins, their clients, and her mentally dull daughter-in-law who lives with her (and whom she cruelly exploits). Although often considered “camp”, a la the films of John Waters, “Bad” is in reality more of a satire in the vein of “Gulliver’s Travels”. The critique is presents of contemporary, capitalist values in American society is right on target, so that the thoroughly unrealistic plot seems all too real. Even more, this film has perhaps the funniest, most original dialogue of any film ever made – you’ll never forget the dangerously paranoid Brigid Polk (a.k.a., Brigid Berlin) and the two amoral sisters she hires to kill a dog. The acting, by both pros and Warhol superstars, is excellent. It even manages to successfully pull off the few moments of poignancy that are allowed in the bleak world it depicts (the assault on the dog and his owner, the final epiphany of L.T. when his empathy prevents him from killing an autistic child and his subsequent confrontation with Hazel). This is not a film for most people – it is far too pessimistic, brutal and graphic – but if you can stomach that, it is more than worth your while to see.”

It’s Just A Lot of Outrageous Fun!
Author: Bertha Fox-Dominguez from United States – 11 February 2006
“This is one of my favorite films. Such a great parody about “good” and “evil”. Carroll Bakker is outstanding. It also gives some great insights as to what it was like to live in NYC in the late 1970s. Fantabulous! It’s a story about a mom who does odd jobs for the mafia. She “opens the channels between you and a client.” The jobs range from messing up a bathroom in a diner, to killing a dog for a vicious lesbian. In the end though, her karma catches up with her. She always uses women to do her dirty work, and the one time that she uses a (hot) male who she’s sexually attracted to, her entire world falls apart. Women are easier because they are inherently more vicious. Please watch this film. It’s an outstanding slice of life movie.”