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14 Camp Classics We Can't Stop Quoting — Bad Girls Edition

14 Camp Classics We Can't Stop Quoting — Bad Girls Edition


These over-the-top tales of bad behavior are the films we love to love -- and love to hate.

Camp_classicsx968_0Gay men didn't invent camp, but we sure as hell appreciate it. Cultural critics define camp as an aesthetic style based on self-conscious theatricality. To this day, we celebrate over-the-top films that defy traditional good taste as camp classics. They may be films that set out to be campy or films that set out to be serious but failed so miserably that they've become "so bad they're good" camp classics. Here's the first in a series of tributes to camp classics that are so beloved by gay audiences that quotes from them have become part of the gay cultural vocabulary.

Showgrilzx633_0Showgirls (1995)
This tale of a broke young dancer (Elizabeth Berkley) who becomes embroiled in the cutthroat world of Vegas showgirls probably set out to be sexy and (ahem) titillating. But its aggressively bad performances, terrible script, and relentlessly vulgar dialogue transformed it into a camp classic.

Classic quotes:

"There's always someone younger and hungrier coming down the stairs after you."

"You got low self-esteem, baby, you're a fantastic fuck."

Badseedx633_0The Bad Seed(1956)
Based on a hit book and play, this is the "shocking" story of a sweet-as-pie 8-year-old girl named Rhoda (played by Patty McCormack) who's not nearly as sweet as she seems. Melodramatic moments -- and murders -- ensue.

Classic quotes:

"Rhoda, what happened to old Mrs. Post in Wichita?"

"Give me those shoes, they're mine!"

Carriex633_0Carrie (1976)
Forget the recent remake. Stephen King's tale of a bullied teen (Sissy Spacek) with telekinetic powers and a Bible-crazy mother (Piper Laurie) is a creepy camp classic for the ages -- culminating in the worst prom ever.

Classic quotes:

"Everyone isn't bad, Mama! Everything isn't a sin!"

"Go to your closet and pray! Ask to be forgiven!"

Boys-in-the-bandx633_0The Boys in the Band(1970)
The "bad girls" in this film, based on Mart Crowley's groundbreaking play, are a gaggle of catty, self-loathing New York gays who emotionally destroy each other over the course of a booze-soaked birthday party. The first play and film with all gay characters was shocking in its day but is now a reminder of how far we've come.

Classic quotes:

"Who is she? Who was she? Who does she hope to be?"

"There's one thing to be said about masturbation: You certainly don't have to look your best."

Serial-momx633_0Serial Mom (1994)
After his early string of subversive, low-budget films starring Divine (Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble), John Waters broke through to the mainstream with this wickedly funny tale of a "perfect" housewife (Kathleen Turner) who just happens to be a serial killer.

Classic quotes:

"I don't know what it is about today, but I feel great. Cookie?"

"All units: Serial Mom is headed south on Ceswick. Proceed with caution. She is armed and fuckin' nuts!"

Hushcharlottex633_0Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte(1964)
This follow-up to the smash-hit creepfest What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? stars Bette Davis as an aging Southern belle -- who may or may not be a crazed ax murderess. Olivia de Havilland stars as her charming cousin -- who may or may not be there to help her save the crumbling family mansion.

Classic quotes:

"What do you think I asked you here for? Company?"

"Why wouldn't I tell him that his pure, darling little girl was having a dirty little affair with a married man?"

Die-mommie-diex633_0Die, Mommie, Die! (2003)
Charles Busch, who wrote the film, also stars as twin sisters Angela and Barbara Arden in this hilarious send-up of every Bette Davis and Joan Crawford potboiler ever made. Jason Priestley, Natasha Lyonne, Frances Conroy, and Philip Baker Hall costar in this over-the-top spoof directed by Mark Rucker.

Classic quotes:

"I hate her because she's a money-grubbing, selfish bitch who ruined my father's life and a promiscuous slut who spends all my father's hard-earned money on trash like you!"

"The only part of this dump that doesn't make me puke is that door -- because that's the way I'm gettin' out!"

Thewomen02x633_0The Women (1939)
Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, and Paulette Goddard lead the all-star, all-female cast in director George Cukor's catty, comic masterpiece of women contending with gossip, infidelity, divorce, and "l'amour."

Classic quotes:

"There's a name for you ladies, but it isn't used in high society ... outside of a kennel."

"I've had two years to grow claws, mother. Jungle Red!"

Mean-girlsx633_0Mean Girls (2004)
Tina Fey transformed the nonfiction book Queen Bees and Wannabes into this comic tale of an innocent teen (Lindsay Lohan) grappling with her high school's cliques and reigning mean girls, played by Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert. and Amanda Seyfried. (Why are we describing this -- have you really not seen it?)

Classic quotes:

"You can't sit with us."

"I'm sorry that people are so jealous of me ... but I can't help it that I'm so popular."

Sunset-boulevardx633_0Sunset Boulevard(1950)
William Holden is a broke screenwriter who's drawn into the home, life, and clutches of a faded, delusional silent film star named Norma Desmond, played by Gloria Swanson in a bravura, career-defining role. The camp is thoroughly intentional in Billy Wilder's masterpiece of Hollywood noir.

Classic quotes:

"I am big! It's the pictures that got small."

"All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."

Mmmie-dressx633_0Mommie Dearest(1981)
Something went horribly wrong when Christina Crawford's tell-all memoir of her abusive childhood as Joan Crawford's adopted daughter was translated to the screen. Faye Dunaway's out-of-control performance as Crawford turned the film into a grotesque cartoon and ruined her career. At least the hair and costumes looked good.

Classic quotes:

"No ... wire ... hangers! Ever!"

"Why can't you give me the respect that I'm entitled to?!"

Janex633_0What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
Bette Davis and her real-life rival Joan Crawford had middle-aged, career-reviving success in this psychological thriller, playing a grotesque former child star and her disabled ex-movie star sister. Davis cuts the ham deliciously thick, and the film launched an entire genre of horror films starring faded movie queens.

Classic quotes:

Blanche: "You wouldn't be able to do these awful things to me if I weren't still in this chair."
Jane: "But you are, Blanche! You are in that chair!"


Honorable Mention: Billy Clift's hilarious all-drag Baby Jane spoof stars the dead-on Matthew Martin as Davis/Baby Jane and J. Conrad Frank as Crawford/Blanche. Baby Jane? (2010)

Valley-of-the-dollsx633_0Valley of the Dolls (1967)
This inadvertently campy film version of Jacqueline Susann's steamy best-seller is either the best bad movie ever made or the worst good movie ever made. Barbara Parkins is the good girl trying to make it in New York, Sharon Tate is the talentless but sweet sexpot, and Susan Hayward is the tough-as-nails Broadway star. But the film belongs to Patty Duke as the ruthless, reckless star Neely O'Hara, who needs a constant stream of booze and pills to "Sparkle, Neely, sparkle!"

Classic quotes:

"They drummed you right outta Hollywood! So ya' come crawlin' back to Broadway. Well, Broadway doesn't go for booze and dope!"

"You know how bitchy fags can be."

All_about_eve-promox633_0All About Eve(1950)
Bette Davis gives the performance of a lifetime as the imperious Broadway diva Margo Channing, whose life and career are turned upside down by a fawningly ambitious young actress named Eve (Anne Baxter). Written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, the film crackles with bitchy wit. The stellar cast includes George Sanders as a cruelly droll critic and a sparkling cameo by a then-unknown Marilyn Monroe.

Classic quotes:

"You're maudlin and full of self-pity. You're magnificent!"

"Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night!"

Find these films on (Coming up: Camp Classics -- The Comedies, and Camp Classics -- The Musicals.)

Which bad girls camp classics would you add to this list? Share them with us in the comments section below.

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