The Art of Camp

While it may look easy, camp is difficult to do well. There is an art to camp. Most attempts go over the top too quickly: ”If I put this flying saucer on a string it will be really funny because it looks so bad.”
It isn’t. The person attempting this is mocking and there is no love. Ed Wood originally was not intending it to be funny when he did this, and because he was genuinely trying to create a serious illusion he was creating kitsch or naïve camp.
Deliberate camp needs to be either much more subtle or go far in absurdity to stay effective and interesting.  John Waters, Andy Warhol, George and Mike Kuchar were all able to take their films into the absurd territory, while others like John Huston’s Beat the Devil play it down. To be effective, camp takes an intricate knowledge of the material it alludes to and Huston’s send up of his own movies prove that out.
Insectula! rides the subtle approach and its allusion to the B-movies of the 50’s, Rodger Corman’s films of the 60’s, and even more modern horror films is always done out of love for the original material. The goal is never to mock or trivialize the original, but to self-consciously emulate the more endearing aspects of it.
Camp in and of itself can wear thin and because of that Insectula! moves beyond the send up and elicits emotions from the audience. There are moments when the audience will jump, laugh, gross out and possibly cry and while some of these are difficult to do within a camp setting, it is important to keep the movie multi-dimensional.
The three-strip Technicolor and Eastmancolor look that is used not only enhances the campy feel of the material but is used because I simply love the bold colors those processes used to create. The greens and reds that are lost in many of the current Hollywood releases are prominent.
The movies Insectula! alludes to had one common goal, to keep the audience entertained. This is the main purpose of Insectula!, however, another goal is to show how much this style of movie making is missed.


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