This is the fourth in a special Overthinkers series, Critical Analysis, which focuses on interviews with online content creators who concentrate on pop culture.
Online video producer and actress Allison Pregler is happy to be in the company of the worst – the worst movies ever made, that is. In her current series Movie Nights, Pregler dissects some of the nastiest offerings in film history like Who’s Your Caddy, Showgirls and the seemingly endless catalogue of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen films.
Prior to Movie Nights, Pregler created the scripted review series Obscurus Lupa Presents, which dove into schlock and found the diamonds in the rough. OLP lasted over 100 episodes, spending much of its run on Channel Awesome.
In addition to Movie Nights, Pregler also created Manic Episodes, which sums up entire seasons of TV shows like Charmed and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and Baywatching, which seeks to understand every episode of Baywatch. Additionally, Pregler has acted, most notably on the web series Ninja the Mission Force and in the satirical film Jesus, Bro!
I recently spoke over Skype with Pregler, where we discussed Latin, the new age of cult movies and what to title Cynthia Rothrock’s next movie.
What attracts you to low-budget, Z-grade films?
I love watching them with my friends or my boyfriend or with other people, because it’s great to have a conversation with people about what went wrong in a movie. Not that you don’t find gems that are genuinely good, but the stuff that I review tends to be really bad. When it’s so bad it’s good, there’s this intriguing element that makes you want to keep watching and teaches you how not to make a movie.
Do you remember the first one you saw that really got you interested in these concepts?
It might have been the first one that I reviewed, Undefeatable, with Cynthia Rothrock. Before I did videos, I’d seen some movies that were funny-bad, but hadn’t really gotten into that culture until I watched that one. It was the only movie I had on my computer at the time. So when I decided to start doing videos, I just picked whatever I had around, and that one was really funny.
Why did you use “Obscurus Lupa” as your name?
It was a fan fiction name that I used [laughs]. It was what I’d used for my names on forums. I’d just looked up some bad Latin; it meant “Dark She-Wolf.” I liked werewolves a lot, and that’s why I picked it, though it sort of mixed up the feminine and masculine of Latin. But that’s why I chose it.
“Dark She-Wolf” would make a great Cynthia Rothrock movie.
[laughs] It would, right?
You did over 100 episodes of Obscurus Lupa Presents. How did you find the series evolve?
I learned everything about video-making. When Is tarted, it was really not great on a technical level. Performance-wise, I was getting used to doing that kind of video-making. Even how to critique movies, I learned how to do it from these. When I started, I didn’t know anything about movies; I hardly knew any pop culture references. So I learned on a technical level how to do lighting and sound, getting a better camera setup, a better editing system, how to be more confident talking to people.
What made you decide that you needed a change in format with Movie Nights?
I just got burnt out doing it the way I was doing it. I still love the old episodes, but when I changed it to Movie Nights, I needed to give myself a second wind, I guess. And I felt like I’d done everything I wanted to do with that format. I felt more comfortable doing the discussion style reviews, being more of myself and less of a scripted persona.
You collaborate with a lot of people, including Phelan [Porteous] and Brad Jones – what do you think collaboration brings to your work?
It brings a lot of new audiences. Granted, there’s a lot of crossover in our audiences, because we all used to be on Channel Awesome, but when you collaborate with other people, their fans wanted to watch your work or maybe my fans want to watch their work. It gives a sense of community about what we do.
Cult films are slowly becoming mainstream – midnight screenings are slowly becoming more prevalent, directors like Edgar Wright and James Gunn are having success with blockbusters, and James Franco is making a movie about The Room. Do you think it’s a beginning of a new age for cult film?
It’s nice to see people embracing that culture and just enjoying things that maybe they wouldn’t – things like The Room and Miami Connection and Birdemic. It’s so cool to see people embracing them.
What’s the best piece of advice that someone has given you for your professional life?
When I started out, I didn’t know what reaction you’d get from people. You get people who are a lot more vocal about things, and you have to have a sense of humor about things and realize that you can’t please everyone.
Let’s say you find this interview ten years down the line. Do you have any questions for your future self?
Are you still happy? Are you still doing what you love to do? Did you ever get your cat to stop meowing during an interview [laughs]?