Culture notes

The cult horror of The Room

23 February 2013

23 February 2013

The Room is an awful film. Plot lines are picked up and forgotten in seconds, stock footage is repeated continuously, actors and names change without explanation, doors are never closed and every photo frame contains a picture of a spoon. Even the second (absurd) sex scene is just a repeat with different music. But that is exactly its appeal — a film so bad it’s good. Scratch that, it’s so execrable that, to weirdos like me, it’s genius. I’m not alone: The Room has gathered a vast cult following.

The Prince Charles cinema in Leicester Square has cottoned on and has frequent showings. They sell out every time. Earlier this month producer, director and star Tommy Wiseau came to entertain his nerdish legions. In a pre-show Q&A, he resolutely failed to confirm whether or not he took his film seriously as an artistic statement. I have a worrying feeling he doesn’t get the joke.

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Once the screening began, so did the chanting, heckling and spoon-throwing (encouraged by the cinema’s cheap booze). The contributions slowly became akin to those aimed at a bad stand-up who refuses to leave the stage. Proceedings, however, were governed by a strict set of interaction rules, compiled online by fans.

After first encountering The Room as a procrastination tool at university, I was pleased to find it still immensely good fun. Not bad for a film funded by Wiseau’s dealing in Korean leather jackets, and likened by Variety magazine to ‘getting stabbed in the head’.

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