The Schlock Index

Students of classical art often talk about the “Golden Ratio.” This is a mathematical concept describing the relationship of two numbers. Artists including Leonardo da Vinci and Salvador Dali reportedly used the Golden Ratio in the composition of some of their paintings because they thought its geometry was naturally more pleasing to the eye. Architects throughout history have used the Golden Ratio to determine the proportions of certain buildings. Certain composers have even used it as the basis for their music.

The closest thing the movies have to the Golden Ratio isn’t that complicated. You don’t need to understand mathematics at all to grasp it. You don’t even have to be able to read. It’s a formula described by the first guy to make a career out of talking about bad movies, long before every geek on the Internet could blog about Godfrey Ho flicks they saw on YouTube. I’m talking about the immortal Joe Bob Briggs, and I’m talking about the Three B’s – Blood, Breasts, and Beasts. Allegedly based on a formula developed by Roger Corman, Joe Bob famously judged drive-in movies on how much of each one they delivered.

Here at Cyborg City 3000, we’re dedicated to upholding the standards and traditions of trash cinema. That’s why from now on each review we post will feature an addendum detailing where the movie scores on what we’re calling the Schlock Index. Our criteria for each category is as follows:

Blood – Some filmmakers can make riveting movie with just two people having a philosophical conversation over dinner. Most of them need to throw a little karate into the mix to keep the audience from falling asleep. Whether it’s family-friendly Jacky Chan stunt-fu or Italian zombie gut-munching, action and violence are practically necessary for a successful B-movie.

Breasts – This is a catchall term for any content in a movie that’s there strictly for titillation. We’re very clinical about this type of stuff here at Cyborg City 3000, so any and all nudity or other lascivious material is fair game. Of course, this comes with the caveat that most of the movies we cover were made in less-enlightened times. That means these flicks will be heavily weighted toward content aimed at heterosexual males. This is not a value judgment, simply a statement of historical fact. We will do our best to ensure that representation is as equitable as possible. If there’s a word for that starting with “B,” let us know.

Beasts – Many movies would be nothing without a good monster. Heck, that’s been the guiding principle of 60 percent of the Japanese film industry. When we talk about beasts, we’re talking about anything created through special effects to shock and scare. That includes cheap rubber suits, CGI creations and Christopher Lee’s eyebrows.

Of course, having high levels of any of these elements doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good movie. For example, “Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.” would probably score as high on the Schlock Index as “Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack.” Both are chock full of Beasts and have commensurate levels of Blood. But “Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.” is a weak re-hash of old plots, while “Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack” is one of the best movies ever made, in our opinion. Cinema is an art form, people.

The purpose of the Schlock Index is not to determine which movies are objectively better, as if that were possible. Everybody likes different movies for different reasons. But if you’re here, there’s a really good chance that any or all of these three elements contribute to your idea of a good time. Hopefully, this will help you determine whether or not a particular movie is for you.