Wild Wild World of Batwoman, The
Reviewed by Jeff DeLuzio
Rating: 10 Beans
ild, Wild World of Batwoman
Tired of reading reviews of "bad" movies of which the reviewer was merely disappointed? Reviews which read, "it was kinda enjoyable, but I'd have directed it differently"? Or, "this one scene kind of bugged me, so I'm gonna dis the whole flick"? Or, "good movie, but it rates ten beans because the female lead was wearing white shoes after Labour Day"?
Well, here's a review of a genuine, bona fide, terrible film, a "Plan 9"-level disaster, for your reading pleasure.
Produced, written, and directed by Jerry Warren, "The Wild World of Batwoman" was released in 1966, with a disclaimer disassociating itself from DC comics, whose then-current "Batman" TV show this film disingenuously tries to copy. The Caped Crusader people sued; the film disappeared. Soon after, it resurfaced as "She Was A Hippie Vampire." Finally, and for no really good reason, it became "The Wild, WILD World of Batwoman."
Wildly bad, in any case.
The story begins with two new "Batgirls" being initiated, by drinking strawberry yogurt smoothies. Soon after, while on duty behind two garbage cans, they witness a hold-up which turns into a murder. The "Batgirls," you see, are dedicated to wearing (somewhat) skimpy outfits and assisting a superhero named "Batwoman," by reporting crimes via Dick-Tracy-like two-way wrist radios. The gals also spend a fair bit of time training but, for all that, are easily overpowered, and prove fairly incompetent in battle.
Never mind. The true hero here is the Woman herself, who wears one of the five most ridiculous superhero outfits ever.* I can only conclude that her furs, Hallowe'en mask, breast-bat, and Vanilla-goes-dominatrix attire are supposed to paralyse criminals with laughter. Despite her questionable choice of costume and associates, she nevertheless commands the respect of the police, the underworld, and the business community of this film's little world.
The plot involves a stolen "Atomic Hearing Aid," and several stupid villains under the command of the nefarious "Rat Fink." These include mad scientist "G. Octavious Neon," bent-backed assistant "Heathcliffe," and a couple Damon Runyanesque henchmen. Mention is also made of some monsters held underground-- but these serve no purpose in the film, and make their brief appearance via stock footage from "The Mole People." Rat Fink tries to enlist the help of Batwoman by kidnapping one of the Girls, and holding her hostage in the world's cheapest mad scientist laboratory. Fortunately, our hero and her Girls, sitting bravely around a coffeetable, plan a rescue, execute it, and-- unfortunately, the movie continues. The remainder involves the stolen Atomic Hearing Aid, overexposed day shots, go-go-dancing-inducing "Happy Pills", a badly- matched stock explosion, and a truly moronic plot twist.
Now, it does not take an Atomic Hearing Aid Scientist to see that "Batwoman," like the 60s "Batman" show, intends to be camp. Problem is, it just isn't funny. It's poorly acted, ineptly filmed, and dully written. Its idea of humour is having a spirit, contacted by seance (don't ask why), speak Chinese, thus confusing the English-speaking Spiritualists. "Wild, Wild..." doesn't even make an enjoyable bad movie. I saw it as originally issued-- so I consulted someone who watched the (inevitable) "Mystery Science Theatre 3000" version, and-- nope, not even that makes it bearable.
Let's face it. Ed Wood, oft-cited as filmdom's worst director, often manages to be terribly enjoyable. Jerry Warren bests Wood as a bad director-- because this incompetent offering doesn't even manage that much.
*The other five are a matter of debate, but here are my picks: The Blue Raja, of course. The Golden Age Sandman, for his total lack of colour-co-ordination. The Target, for cleverly picking, um, a target for his chest insignia. And any superwoman who fights crime in heels.
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