Specifically, bad ones, and not regretting it. There’s two big reasons I think any time spent watching movies is time well spent.

a) The list of things that are more fun than making fun of a bad movie with a bunch of friends is very short. The only thing we like more than watching bad movies is watching good movies.

b) Watching bad movies can teach you a ton about just what makes bad art bad.

This is especially true in this blessed age of DVD commentaries. Take The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1 and 2. The first is awesome: nasty, brutal, fucked up, funny and scary. The second is so terrible my roommate, who’s seen plenty of awful shit in his day, apologized to us midway through, and offered several times to turn it off. No dice! No doubt it was a disaster, but after Robot Ninja and Voodoo Academy, the bar for badness is set so low it requires seismic drilling just to locate.

The reasons to hate Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 are too long to fully elucidate. But for one thing, it looks awful in that weird ’80s horror movie way: everything’s bright and dirty and plastic, even when it’s set in an underground torture-carnival. Second, despite the fact it’s directed by Tobe Hooper, the same guy behind the first, it’s absolutely loaded with mugging, maniacal cackling, perverse character tics, and more egregious overacting than a high school production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

There’s no way to overstate how awful and annoying the whole thing is. It’s all so obvious and exaggerated and fake. What on earth would possess someone to make this? Why would a director think he was doing good to order all his actors to ham it up so hard you can catch trichinosis just by watching?

The answer to these questions and more can be found on the movie’s commentary, which I had no choice but to watch–Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 was so painful and awful that at some point it stopped being bad altogether, instead becoming a fascinating study of a man utterly detached from reality. The commentary only confirmed this. According to Hooper, the first movie had a deep layer of black humor–who knew!–but apparently no one on earth got that, so when it came time to film the second, he decided to play up the humor even more, which apparently meant making it such a wrath-inducing crime against comedy that all the laughs transcended the mortal realm to become merely theoretical.

Yes, people, we’re to blame for Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 being so bad. If only we’d had the smarts to see the humor in the first one, Hooper wouldn’t have been obligated to bludgeon us to death with it in the second.

In other words, a terrible, virtueless movie was made because Hooper underestimated his audience. He didn’t understand that we did get it the first time; the reason his precious black humor worked was because it was played so straight.

Not trusting your audience is usually a young man’s mistake (self included). The urge is to spell it out, to make sure every point and theme is clear as crystal, because God knows the drooling R-tards reading or watching our brilliance won’t be able to keep up without an authorial hand yanking them toward enlightenment. If you need to break yourself of this habit, watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, and then follow it up with the commentary. Stay strong; remember, the urge to suicide is strictly temporary.

Still kicking? Awesome. Now let’s make a pledge to never underestimate our audience again. And once you manage, be sure to let me know how the hell you pulled it off. I’ve got some stories in dire need of revision over here.

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