Dir: Malcolm Leo, Andrew Solt, 1982
It Came From Hollywood is an exercise in total disappointment. A woefully missed opportunity, to celebrate the wonderfully bad and tremendously awful.
The film is nothing more than a clip show of old B-movies, with comedians Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner and stoner duo, Cheech and Chong, making fun of the snippets. However, the comments aren’t funny.
Divided into sections, each comedian links the clips by a very short skit, acting as the introduction. Again, there is a lack of laughs.
Written by Dana Olsen, the script feels green and amateurish. It’s rather surprising, that noted stars Aykroyd, Radner and John Candy, put their name to this as it falls well below the standard of their work. Yet, there is also the sense of disinterest with the cast, like their heart wasn’t in it.
Ironically, for a film that deals in laughing at low quality movies, is itself a rather mediocre production. Whether this is deliberate or not is irrelevant, as the film purports to be funny but is falls flat at every joke.
The best section of the movie comes from Candy in, what is really, a celebration of King Of Kak, Ed Wood. Jr. Focusing primarily on Wood’s “masterpieces”, Glen Or Glenda and Plan 9 From Outer Space, Candy speaks quite affectionately about the director’s output, with none of his comments appearing caustic or smug.
Clearly a precursor to Mystery Science Theatre 3000, Leo and Solt’s It Came From Hollywood sparked the trend of “riffing”; that is, taking the piss out of whatever they’re watching. Although it took a couple more years to finally catch on, “riffing” was allowed to mature and ripen, giving comedians time to hone their skills.
At the end of the day, the film is self defeating and is rendered redundant. How can you make fun of something that’s already funny? The clips themselves are brilliant and will have you shaking your head in bewilderment. It’s just a shame that the not-at-all-amusing narration ruins it.
Depressing and frustrating, It Came From Hollywood had the potential to be a classic. If only they had let the (unintentional) humour shine through naturally.
A wasted effort.