This 1982 comedy is basically a low-budget clip show that stitches together bits from dozens of B-movies, many of them SF and exploitation films from the 1950s, with some bumper scenes involving popular comedians of the day: Gilda Radner, John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, and Cheech & Chong. Due to rights issues for many of the clips, the movie isn’t currently available on any home media or streaming, and so when I watched it yesterday it was on a digital transfer straight from VHS. Oddly, the poor quality of the VHS made the new footage meld quite well with the quality of the clips.
It Came from Hollywood is interesting as an archival view of ironic movie culture before it broadened out through availability of many of these films through home video, and then later matured through the comic revolution that Mystery Science Theater 3000 created that changed how these films were comedically approached. The snark here is still crude, and that makes sense considering Michael Medved’s involvement. Medved didn’t have love for these films, only contempt, and it often shows, especially when dealing with Ed Wood flicks. (Despite it’s bizarre flaws, Glen or Glenda? is an ahead of its time plea for tolerance that refuses to actually exploit its subject matter.)
Unfortunately, the new comedy segments are rarely funnier either, disappointing considering the talent involved. Gilda Radner comes across the best, and some of Cheech Marin’s comedy bits as he and Tommy Chong do an early version of the MST3K crew watching from theater seats are also mildly amusing.
It’s strange to see criticism of a few B-movies that are genuinely great films, such as The Incredible Shrinking Man. There’s simply no way to comfortably fit footage of that alongside schlock gems like Robot Monster and Reefer Madness.
However, the movie does provide the fun party game of “Guess then clip!” It’s amazing how many of the films they use I’ve seen and can identify in seconds. I can even provide the MST3K quip of the moment if the movie was ever shown on the program.