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Resident film critic for the Dana Gould Hour and SPD bestseller Katharine Coldiron's study is part Cursed Films and part Mystery Science Theater 3000-- a collection of essays about bad movies and what we can learn from them, from Showgirls to Death Bed: The Bed That Eats.

Entire libraries of criticism study good art. Who studies bad art?

Junk Film’s thirteen essays explore the failures of specific works created between the 1940s and the 2010s. Each demonstrates a different kind of failure, from mixing incompatible genres (Cop Rock) to stacking a screenplay with sociopaths (Staying Alive). The book uses a few basic theses about bad film and television to unpack these failures. Importantly, it shows what students of film can learn from bad movies: how to make art that works via watching art that doesn’t.

Junk Film bridges film scholarship and pop culture criticism with wit and warmth. Includes new work as well as essays published by Vague Visages, The Millions, Bright Lights Film Journal, and in monograph book form by PS Publishing.


Katharine Coldiron dives headfirst into the mosh pit of trash culture and clears a bold new space for thinking and talking about the pleasures of cinematic crap… “Junk Film” is a smart and sneakily subversive read from a cultural critic with a magpie’s eye for glittering swill. — Ty Burr, film critic (“Ty Burr’s Watch List”) and author (Gods Like Us: On Movie Stardom and Modern Fame)

I’ve always thought that if art is expression, can it fail? Katharine Coldiron does a wonderful job of examining this from both sides. She finds and analyzes a fascinating array of films. It made me laugh many times, and actually made me want to have a bad movie marathon! -- Greg Sestero, actor and author, The Disaster Artist

Bad movies have been very good to me - I've watched hundreds as a writer for Mystery Science Theater 3000 and RiffTrax, and even voluntarily. Katharine Coldiron's examination of such movies names why I appreciate them so much - it's smart, insightful, and entertaining, and it's for film aficionados and snobs alike. -- Mary Jo Pehl, comedienne (Rifftrax, MST3K) and writer (Dumb Dumb Dumb)

Essayist Coldiron (Ceremonials) delivers an entertaining ode to cinematic duds. “Bad movies are teaching tools for making and studying good movies,” she contends, exploring what such films and television shows as Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958), Staying Alive (1983), and Showgirls (1995) accidentally reveal about the techniques of quality filmmaking. ... Coldiron's analysis of some of the stranger footnotes in cinematic history unearths unexpected wisdom about how movies work. Cinephiles will enjoy digging into this. -- Publisher's Weekly

Junk Film: Why Bad Movies Matter by Katharine Coldiron



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