‘Hey, hey, hey! BIM’s on the way!’
By Craig Allan, Business Manager
‘The Apple’ is a loose musical take of the story of Adam and Eve set in the futuristic dystopia of 1994.
Years ago, coming off learning about one of the baddest boys of the so-bad-they’re-good genre of movies—The Rocky Horror Picture Show—I came across a musical that sounded like it was perfect to fit into that Rocky Horror Picture Show mold. That movie is The Apple, a 1980 musical film that seems to have a legendary status as terrible. It’s listed as one of the worst musicals of all time and Wikipedia lists it as one of the worst movies ever.
With claims so strong I knew it was a movie that I had to see, but when I searched online, I could not find it. However, last week as I was looking at a rack of DVDs at a London Drugs I found it for only $5.60 so I knew I had to buy it. After dusting off my DVD player, I inserted the disk and got ready to experience the wonder of The Apple.
The Apple is a loose musical take of the story of Adam and Eve set in the futuristic dystopia of 1994. Here, the villainous Mr. Boogalow rules with a desire that everyone pledge their loyalty to the BIM. BIM could be the government, but it could also just be a hit song. This song is one that was performed by a band loyal to Boogalow, and they played it to a cheering crowd at the WorldVision Song Contest. Boogalow is confident that no one would beat the infectious lyrics of the “BIM” song… that is until Bibi and Alphie from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan come up and sing a love ballad that somehow wins the adulations of the crowd.
The first half hour of The Apple is actually pretty good. The musical numbers (while ridiculous) are memorable. Whether it’s the “BIM” song’s constant repeating of “Hey, hey, hey. BIM’s on the way!”, or the “Apple” song, which contains lyrics like “Meet an actual, actual, actual, actual vampire!” as the lead singer sings the song leading Bibi through metaphorical Hell, the songs are bad, non-sensical—but catchy.
The movie drags after Bibi accepts Mr. Boogalow’s contract while Alphie, untrustworthy of Boogalow, refuses. While there are still great moments, like Bibi’s song “Speed” alluding to America as a drug addict, and the hilarious “BIM Hour” in which on duty firefighters, surgeons, and a patient in the middle of surgery, get up for the mandatory one hour a day dance to the “BIM” song, the movie continually goes back to Alphie’s bantering with his landlord, and pining for Bibi to give up her contractual relationship with Boogalow. If a lot of Alphie’s scenes were cut, this movie would be a campy, enjoyable romp.
The best performance in the movie has to go to Vladek Sheybal. Sheybal, who plays Mr. Boogalow, chews the scenery as the embodiment of the Devil. One of the most cringeworthy moments of his performance comes when he sings the song “How to Be a Master” in which he talks about how he is a master with slaves, backed up by his two black servants.
The ending of the movie is either influenced by Grease, or is just an acid trip the film crew went on. After finding his way to a commune of casted off 1960s hippies and getting Bibi back by just… I don’t know… being him?—a man comes down from the clouds in a Rolls Royce. This man has the name of Mr. Topps, but he’s basically God. He then says that he will now take Bibi, Alphie, and all the hippies to another planet that’s far away from Boogalow’s tyranny. That’s how the movie ends.
The movie was panned on release. At the Montreal premiere of the movie, the audience disliked the movie so much that they threw promotional vinyl records at the screen. The director even considered killing himself, feeling that his dreams of breaking into the US film system were gone.
Like all bad movies, the film gets better as time goes. Many later reviews praising it for the camp of it all. For fans of Rocky Horror who enjoy dressing up to the movie and yelling jokes at the screen, The Apple is a film that no doubt deserves to be treated with that same level of adoration. So, to The Rio, or any independent theatre looking for a unique movie, slap on a mandatory BIM sticker and bite the apple!