It’s the movies that have really been running things in America ever since they were invented. They show you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, how to feel about it, and how to look how you feel about it. – Andy Warhol
The year 1977 was a pivotal year in modern history. England was having its royal Jubilee, celebrating twenty-five years of Elizabeth II’s reign. Meanwhile Punk Rock came into prominence as The Sex Pistols sang “God Save The Queen.” Punk and HipHop was holding its own as well in the big bad rotten apple. Places such as CBGB’s and The Bronx became meccas of rising new musical movements. The World trade Center opened officially in New York City. Elvis Presley went on to that peanut butter and banana sandwich in the sky. Marc Bolan from T-Rex joined Elvis after a nasty car crash. Apple Computers incorporated while Son of Sam followed some dog’s orders. Let’s not forget that legendary blackout in NYC, followed by looting and mass chaos.
Meanwhile, as the year of pandemonium unfolded, Andy Warhol decided to do something other than hanging with the ‘beautiful people’ over at Studio 54. Not being satisfied with being the premiere pop artist, Interview magazine and being invited all the best parties, Warhol added film producer to his list.
Out of all the Warhol films, this one is a personal favorite of mine. This cast consisted of Caroll Baker, Susan Tyrell, TV movie expert Perry King, 70s rock sceneser Cyrinda Foxe, and a few Factory regulars, like Brigit Polk. The plot goes a little something like this…Hazel (Carroll Baker) runs a electrolysis service out of her kitchen in Queens, New York. However, her real source of money is managing a small time murder racket, and assigning various ruthless women to these jobs. Kinda brings a new meaning to the saying ‘it’s a nasty job, but someone’s gotta do it.’ Hazel prefers to deal with women, but K.T. (Perry King) come into the scene begging for work. Reluctantly, Hazel lets him board inside her private residence along with the other female associates. K.T. chats with the other residents, including Hazel’s daughter-in-law, mopey welfare recipient Mary. Meanwhile a corrupt local cop keeps on harassing Hazel for arrest leads, but she’s not in the mood for snitching. I won’t spoil the rest of the story for you. If you manage to find a decent DVD copy of this flick, its worth checking out.I discovered this cinematic nasty in the guise of a local VHS video rental. I was in my late teens living in Astoria, Queens. It seemed to blend so well together; a woman from Queens with a vicious disposition, produced by Andy Warhol with an underlining dark sense of humor. So if you like John Water’s early stuff, you’ll probably dig this.
Plus if you ever grew up in Queens, or anywhere in NYC for that matter, I will guarantee you that you probably knew someone just like Hazel. Perhaps someone similar to Hazel’s structure was living right next door to you, and you didn’t even know it.
Below is the trailer for the film itself. This is one of those rare cases where the trailer actually delivers on its promise. Oh, and one of the movie’s most infamous scenes is when some unfeeling bitch throws her baby out of an apartment window. In real life that particular actress, Susan Blond later went on to become a music executive and well respect publicist.
Ah, what the hell. In case you can’t find a copy of Bad on either DVD or VHS, here’s the baby throwing scene: