Z is for Zap Rowsdower

| April 24, 2014

1. Zap Rowsdower is a character in a 1990 film called “The Final Sacrifice.” This movie has gained notoriety due to the fact that it appeared as the feature in an episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000.

2. Mystery Science Theatre 3000 has such a simple premise that it seems impossible the show wouldn’t work. Who doesn’t like sitting around and making fun of bad movies?

3. Zap Rowsdower has become a cult figure thanks to: his absurd name, his mullet, and his love for beer.

4. The original creation of “The Final Sacrifice” was apparently meant to be your standard horror film. An evil cult wants to take over the world and they are chasing after the only person who has the map of the location of a buried city that can be raised up and grant the cult power over mankind. Put this way, the film doesn’t seem any less plausible than many horror/fantasy films out there.

5. But the film is not what it intends to be. The film, like a majority of films, could have simply been forgotten. It is a bad film and thus it is not necessary to remember it. But the film is not simply bad. It is worse than a bad film; it is absolutely incompetent. One watches this movie and wonders how the creators could prevent themselves from stopping the production altogether. But it didn’t stop. Instead, we are presented with this movie that has worked its way into culture thanks to the very reasons the film should be forgotten.

6. Bad films, really bad films, have a way of making it into our cultural consciousness. Ed Wood’s films are a prime example, as is “The Room.” There is something attractive to these films. Maybe they should be categorized as “disaster films” instead of films like “Godzilla.”

7. These films then take on a completely different life from the one intended by its creators. This can be said of almost every artwork, but more so with these films. The audience becomes the creators of these works. The cult followings allow the movies to live on into something bigger than they ever should have been. This (the work becoming more than ‘just a movie/book/piece’) might be moving towards a definition of good art, but I’m still working that out.