To call The Apple the most stupendously awful movie of the century would be the understatement of the millennium. Taking an ill-advised cue from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Apple has set out to become the next mega-popular cult musical. But cinema-goers won’t remember 1980 solely for the unbearable badness that is The Apple. It will be remembered as the heyday of bad musicals. In a year that had already pummeled the public with Can’t Stop the Music and Xanadu, did the world really need a film like this?
The story begins in the futuristic wonderland of 1994 (indicated when a character exclaims “Use your imagination, this is 1994!”), where the hairstyles have remained the same and disco has outlasted the “trendy” stage to become the most marketable form of entertainment on the planet. Two young, naïve, performers named Alphie (George Gilmour) and Bibi (Catherine Mary Stewart ) enter a songwriting contest held by the Worldvision Song Festival. Despite poor reception for their old-fashioned love tune, the duo captures the interest of one Mr. Boogalow (Vladek Sheybal), the head of—Are you still with me?—B.I.M.: Boogalow International Music.
Once Boogalow gets Bibi to sign a contract with B.I.M., Alphie discovers that the world of rock and roll is darker than he had ever known. As Bibi is entranced by the glitter-drowned world of B.I.M., Alphie sees the demented music monger for who he truly is…the devil. In a psychedelic underworld sequence (that occurs as Bibi is being convinced to sign the contract), Mr. Boogalow sports a pair of golden horns as a competing singer named Dandi (Alan Love) glorifies the deal by crooning the title tune. The wondrous lyrics are exemplified in the last verse as Dandi shrills: “Holy apple/Sacred apple/Take a little chance/Get into a trance/And join me in the apple dance.”
The film reaches new heights of outright atrociousness as the pair goes into hiding and is taken in by a group of grungy outcasts who were once known as “hippies.” The last scene witnesses the arrival of a golden Buick from the sky carrying the great “Mr. Topps,” (Joss Ackland) a messiah of some kind. “Where will you go? To another planet?” Boogalow asks. “Let’s give it a try,” the godlike entity retorts. And witness as the hippies march into the great beyond like extras out a Mel Brooks farce.
As you may have already figured out for yourself, The Apple is not only a futuristic disco musical, it’s also a biblical allegory. The title fruit is a glaringly obvious reference to the Garden of Eden and Mr. Boogalow is the dark angel himself. Boogalow is made devilish through his constant sneers, guffaws, and snickers, but never actions. The oafishness of this venture leads me to believe that Producers Menaham Golam and Yoram Globus had no belief that The Apple would make back its budget. Instead, these schlockmeisters were probably mimicking the plan featured in The Producers, and made the film terrible intentionally.
The Apple may someday become a king among camp classics. Will theaters around New York City play it for years and years, as eager new fans enter its demented universe a la Rocky Horror? Maybe. If Golam and Globus really did mean to emulate the leads in The Producers and no one sees The Apple, then they will probably win.