Brandon Tenold: Your online guide to crazy cult cinema
From off-the-wall monster movies of the ’50s, Turkish superheroes of the ’60s, trashy sci-fi of the ’80s and more, Tenold is the internet’s foremost authority on the campiest, “so-bad-they’re-good” films to ever grace the silver screen.
The Interrobang managed to tear Tenold away from his latest Gamera- a-thon to give us the lowdown on life as a YouTube reviewer.
Q – What compelled you to make videos of yourself riffing terrible movies?
A – When I was young I was a huge fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000, a fact that should be blatantly obvious to anyone who’s seen my show, and sometimes my friends and I would even rent movies and riff them ourselves rather than simply watch them. I didn’t think of making videos myself until I discovered James Rolfe, aka The Angry Video Game Nerd, and from there I was led to other web producers such as The Nostalgia Critic, Cinema Snob, Spoony, etc.
My first web series was called Unsung, which were serious reviews of overlooked albums and bands. However, YouTube is an absolute nightmare regarding anything involving music. Still, the response was positive enough that I wanted to keep making videos, so I decided to take my vast knowledge of weird and obscure cinema and tried to see if I could be funny. The response was even better than my Unsung series, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Q – The world of online reviewing is still a new frontier in many ways, any advice for novices?
A – Even if you’re not necessarily funny, the important thing is to be entertaining and give people a reason to keep watching. And as weird is this sounds coming from a guy who makes videos sitting on a couch in his living room, professionalism matters. Have a script, don’t just ramble aimlessly and if you screw up a line, do another take. These are all small, simple things, but they make a big difference.
Q – You watch some pretty obscure titles on your channel; what criteria does a film have to meet before you’ll consider reviewing it?
A – I have a pretty wide range when it comes to the stuff I review. The only criterion is it has to fit within the cult/genre film theme of my show. This can mean anything from sci-fi, horror, fantasy, action, martial arts, anime, etc. It just has to be something that’s a little off the beaten path.
Q – And the most ridiculous movie you’ve riffed on so far would be?
A - Narrowing it down to one movie is hard, but one of the most memorably out-there scenes is from the live-action Wicked City where the villain has sex with a shape-shifting pinball machine/woman hybrid... seriously.