A witless, ill-directed attempt at John Waters-like black comedy, ANDY WARHOL'S BAD is undermined by amateurish acting, narrative aimlessness, bland music, and the sight of a mother, tired of waiting for the paid killers she has hired, blithely dropping an infant out of the window of a
Queens housewife Hazel Aiken (Carrol Baker) runs two businesses out of her house--electrolysis and murder for hire. The latter is performed by a string of regular hitwomen, including platinum blond R.C. (Cyrinda Foxe), Italian-accented P.G. (Stefania Cassini), sisters Marcia and Glenda (Maria and
Geraldine Smith), and S.F. (Barbara Allen). Current clients include an aggrieved young wife who wants revenge on the immigrant who maimed her musician husband, and regular customer Estelle (Brigid Polk), a paranoid who wants the dog of an ex-cop (Lawrence Tierney) killed (she thinks she lip-read
the cop insulting her). When a middle-class couple want their autistic son killed, Mrs. Aiken brings in a male outsider, L.T. (Perry King). Since the time-frame for the latter is uncertain, L.T. hangs around the house for a week, becoming one more on a long list of things irritating Mrs. Aiken.
Others are the corrupt police detective (Charles McGregor) to whom she pays protection, her perpetually crying infant grandchild and the baby's equally lachrymose mother, Mary (Susan Tyrrell), who has been abandoned by Mrs. Aiken's son. On the one evening Mary finally goes out of the house, to see
a movie with Marsha and Glenda, the two hitwomen spoil her evening by setting fire to the theater, stealing and destroying a car, and abandoning her to a mugger.
L.T. is eventually summoned to perform his job. But when he sees the autistic boy, he is moved to compassion by memories of his own abused childhood and he leaves without killing him. Enraged that she has lost her fee, Mrs. Aiken throws L.T. out of the house and takes out her frustration on the
corrupt cop--who drowns her in the kitchen sink.
Pop-art godfather and seminal celebrity Andy Warhol, who'd dabbled in experimental shorts and the occasional feature-length (or beyond) film since 1963, was by this time merely a behind-the-scenes influence. (He's credited as "executive producer"). Without the Warhol brand name, ANDY WARHOL'S BAD
would probably be long forgotten.
On the plus side, Tyrrell crafts an emotionally affecting eccentric who feels remarkably real despite the character's (and the film's) limitations. Polk is likewise good, playing a dangerously frustrated psycho who nonetheless seems a genuine, pained human being. Originally rated X, the film was
later resubmitted and rerated. Director Johnson, who was originally Warhol's interior designer, died on July 17, 1996 in the TWA Flight 800 plane crash. (Violence, extensive nudity, sexual situations, adult situations, profanity.
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- Released: 1977
- Rating: R
- Review: A witless, ill-directed attempt at John Waters-like black comedy, ANDY WARHOL'S BAD is undermined by amateurish acting, narrative aimlessness, bland music, and the sight of a mother, tired of waiting for the paid killers she has hired, blithely dropping an… (more)