As the awards season finally draws to a close, we can take a step back and reflect on the best of last year: the best music, the best directors, the best actors, the best films. But with the 32nd Golden Raspberry Awards coming up in April, let us reflect briefly on those whose cinematic genius might never see the sparkle of an Oscar.
My case study is a man of limited standing in Hollywood, but his oeuvre — indeed, his very existence — has tortured the gaming community since 1991. I refer, of course, to Dr Uwe Boll, who has held the unofficial titles of “cinema’s worst director” and “worst filmmaker in the world” since Ed Wood died in 1978. As of 2012, forty-six year-old Boll — who holds a doctorate in literature — has been involved in the production of thirty films, many of them financed by his German production company, Boll KBG.
Back in 1991, Boll was probably considered harmless: just another young man with a hunger for film. It was only in 2003 that ‘Boll’ became synonymous with ‘troll’. Since then he has churned out a number of low-budget, direct-to-DVD films (sometimes more than one a year) based on such acclaimed video games as BloodRayne, House of the Dead and Alone in the Dark. Boll’s vision of the latter is often cited as one of the worst films ever made, with two Razzie nominations, one Calvin Award and three Stinkers Awards. ‘Bollisms’ include wooden acting, clichéd dialogue, ketchup gore and sloppy cinematography, plus a highly intrusive techno soundtrack.
Boll’s efforts have made him the target of many an online campaign. The most prominent of these rallying cries is currently listed on PetitionOnline.com. The petition reads: “We, the undersigned, respectfully ask that Uwe Boll […] stop directing, producing, or taking any part in the creation of feature films. His distasteful handling of the subject matter and lack of acknowledgement of his failures simply cannot be abided any longer”. User comments range from the mildly exasperated (“Enough is enough, Mr Boll!”) to the homicidal (“Uwe Boll must die”) to the outright apocalyptic (“Uwe Boll’s films are so bad they make the Holocaust seem trivial by comparison”). Boll said in 2008 that he would retire from filmmaking if the petition reached a million signatures, but as of 2012, this target has still not been hit.
Maybe Boll is actually a decent chap under all that rubbish filmmaking and profanity. There must be some reason Michelle Rodriguez and Sir Ben Kingsley agreed to appear in BloodRayne. “I’m not a fucking retard like Michael Bay,” he insists. “I’m the only genius in the whole fucking business”. Hearing a war cry, Bay shot back that Boll was a “dumb chump trying to get some fame when he has none”. Note, however, that Bay did not engage Boll physically. As a handful of plucky critics found out in 2006, Boll — the self-dubbed ‘Teutonic Terror’ — prefers to fight harsh words with harsh deeds. “I hit them so hard they have brain damage,” he shrieked. “They love my movies now!” I’ll leave you to research exactly what happened that night in a seedy Vancouver casino, but it left Ain’t it Cool’s Jeff Sneider vomiting into his oxygen mask. In fact, I’m just off to change my identity now. Wouldn’t want to provoke the Raging Boll into making BloodRayne 4.