Butterfly (1982)

This is a movie that received 10 nominations for the 1982 Golden Raspberry Awards,  including Worst Picture, with star Pia Zadora winning Worst Actress and Worst New Star, and Ed McMahon winning Worst Supporting Actor. But more than that — Zadora also won Best Female Newcomer at the Golden Globes for this movie, beating out Elizabeth McGovern and Kathleen Turner. Sure, her super rich husband may have flown members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to Las Vegas to watch Pia sing. Sure, he may have bought the award. But for awhile, Pia had quite the movie career going.

That said, we’re not the kind of people to pile meanness on. Since Sam was a kid, he’s always loved Pia Zadora. She stared those elitist critics down and kept going. And she’s still going today, playing Piero’s in Vegas every Friday and Saturday, looking gorgeous as ever and with plenty of good humor about her movie past.

Is Butterfly as bad as you think it will be? Guess what? It’s worse. And it’s awesome. It’s the story of a girl moving back in with her dad who isn’t her dad but having sex with him while he thinks he’s her dad because there’s a silver mine and she wants to marry a rich guy and holy fuck there’s Ed McMahon and holy double fuck there’s Orson Welles and then her mom comes to visit only to die and then there’s a murder and then there’s a court scene and then there’s almost a rape in a bar while she dances to a jukebox and my continuity is all over the place.

Matt Cimber did more than direct the GLOW TV show and The Witch Who Came from the Sea. He also blessed us with this, well, opus is the word I’ll use. He also got Stacy Keach to play the lead, which makes me feel bad for the guy. Also along for the ride are Edward Albert (the son, from Galaxy of Terror), James Franciscus (The Cat o’ Nine TailsKiller Fish), Stuart Whitman (The Monster Club), June Lockhart (TV’s Lost in Space, Curse of the Black Widow), the aforementioned Ed McMahon and George “Buck” Flower (Back to the Future and cameos in nearly every John Carpenter movie, including Starman, Village of the Damned, Escape from New York and The Fog).

They are all but pale shadows to Zadora, who wanders around in see-through babydoll gowns and pouts throughout. She even sang the film’s theme song, “It’s Wrong for Me to Love You.”

The truth is — it is wrong for her to love him. What’s with all these early 1980’s incest-driven films, like Flowers in the Attic? Who wanted to see this? Then again, a quick glance at any porn site will show you — lots of people.

Want to see it for yourself? I’ve really sold it, huh? Look — it’s a glorious mess and you should enjoy it for exactly that. It also feels like it’s 9 hours long. So there’s that. But it is streaming for free on Amazon Prime.

5 thoughts on “Butterfly (1982)

    • Dude, it’s pretty good. It’s not as good as The Lonely Lady, a movie I’ll fight people in parking lots over. But if you love Welles — and you want to see Ed McMahon play a rich dad — then yes. It’s worth it.


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