On 1 January 2011, I launched That Was A Bit Mental.
In a rather unassuming post simply called Why, Hello There, I introduced the site as “a celebration of the more weird and wonderful movies I tend to watch”.
Over the years the site continued to grow and it eventually developed a bit of a cult following. Colleagues and Twitter followers suggested movies for me to review, usually the most bizarre films they could think of (in keeping with the site’s style).
Writing was my profession: as a video game journalist, I wrote for the likes of Official Nintendo Magazine, Nintendo Gamer and CVG all while keeping TWABM going in my free time.
TWABM, then, was my way of continuing to write for fun. There was no pressure in writing my film reviews: no editors to decide what I could and couldn’t write, no sub-editors rewriting my words to fit a house style, no strict deadlines to meet. It was my escape and my constant reminder that writing is fun.
It also gave me the freedom to write in a way I was more comfortable with. My daft, conversational, sweary writing style which can now be seen in my games site Tired Old Hack was nurtured and evolved on TWABM.
A lot can change in seven years, though. At the start of 2015 CVG was closed down and I was asked to either move to Bath and join GamesRadar or take redundancy. With a payoff in my bank account – there’s no way I could have joined the site that killed the one I loved – my wife and I moved back to my native Scotland.
There I got a ‘grown-up’ job, writing for the Scottish Government website mygov.scot, but since my passion for writing about games hadn’t died along with CVG, I started a new gaming site called Tired Old Hack. It started to grow, and continues to do so.
I was now juggling a new home, a new 9-to-5 job, my long-running movie site and my new gaming site. Something had to give, and I started committing less time to TWABM.
While in 2014 I’d managed to write 77 film reviews, in 2015 that had slightly dropped to 56. In 2016 it plummeted to just 17.
And, in 2017, I wrote a grand total of one solitary review on the site. To all intents and purposes, That Was A Bit Mental had died.
Things have changed again.
My juggling act has calmed down, and while I still have a lot of things going on I’ve become better at managing my time.
More importantly, I miss writing about bad films. There was something so satisfying about digging out some of the weirdest movies imaginable: occasionally well-known ones like The Evil Dead and Battle Royale, but more often obscure ones like The Gingerdead Man, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers and Test Tube Teens From The Year 2000.
Much as I love writing about games, who wouldn’t like telling their readers about a film in which Scooby-Doo teams up with Vince McMahon and John Cena to fight a ghost bear?
Or introducing their audience to a Filipino Bond imitation starring a 2’9” actor? Or a post-apocalyptic movie where Roddy Piper is the last fertile man on Earth and has to rescue the last remaining women from a group of mutated frog people, otherwise his dick will be blown up?
I miss that. Which is why today, exactly seven years after that first post, the site is back.
That Was A Bit Mental had gone the way of so many of the characters in the films it covered, and had died an unceremonious, off-screen death.
Today, much like some of those characters, it’s come back to life, ready to feast on the blood of some of the worst (and therefore best) the movie industry has to offer.
However, I appreciate that its long slumber has meant that I’m going to have to build up its popularity again. For starters, many of my newer Twitter followers have followed me for my video game work, and may not have read (or even realised I’d written) my film stuff.
If you fall under that category, I recommend you take a look around some of the 297 reviews already on this site. They’re all conveniently listed on this very page: to the right if you’re reading on a desktop computer, at the bottom if you’re on mobile.
Even if you aren’t interested in horror films (or movies at all), my reviews should hopefully still entertain. Many of my older TWABM readers hated horror movies but enjoyed my stuff: after all, I was watching this shite so they didn’t have to, and reporting back on the funny bits.
The reviews on this site aren’t pretentious and don’t assume a lot of knowledge like other film sites do: they’re written with the same conversational style and bad jokes you may be used to on Tired Old Hack. So please do give some a go.
If you’ve got no idea where to start, I’ve got four useful indexes for you, depending on your personal tastes:
The Hall Of Fame is an index of every review on the site that received:
• 5 stars (both horror and non-horror)
• 4 ½ stars (horror)
• 4 stars (horror)
• 4 ½ or 4 stars (non-horror)
The Hall Of Shame, meanwhile, lists every review on the site that got:
• ½ stars (horror)
• 1 star (horror)
• 1 ½ stars (horror)
• 1 ½ stars or less (non-horror)
If you’re here expecting the site title to be literal and only want to read reviews of the strangest films around, the Proper Mental List only features those that were truly mad.
Finally, the complete Review Index lists every single review on the site – separated into horror and non-horror categories – along with a one-sentence summary so you can easier decide which films you want to read about.
The reviews will kick off again tomorrow with Resurrection Of The Mummy. Without wishing to spoil anything, it’s going to end up in either the Hall Of Fame or Hall Of Shame. You’ll find out which tomorrow.
I’m excited to bring back That Was A Bit Mental. Like I say, it’s going to take a while to pick up steam again, but you can help the process by sharing any of the reviews on here that make you laugh or entertain you in any other way. The further these articles spread, the quicker the site can grow.
Friends, welcome to the Revenge Of That Was A Bit Mental.