Holy Cartoon Bomb, Batman!

Batman became Camp. In those days, Camp was a fairly serious intellectual enterprise. Kids take it literally, but when adults see it, they realize it's comedic.
Denny O'Neil, Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle

Derives from the French gay community's slang term se camper, meaning "to pose in an exaggerated fashion". The term "Camp" morphed into referring to a sensibility that revels in artifice, stylization, theatricality, irony, playfulness, and exaggeration rather than content, as Susan Sontag famously defined the term in her short essay "Notes on Camp". Don't expect it to take itself the least bit seriously.

The main debates concerning the term are twofold:
  1. How such an aesthetic relates to intentionality: whether camp deliberately cultivated ("high" camp) is the same to that of the unintentional kind ("low" camp).
  2. Whether the term relies too much on the elitist notion that popular culture cannot also be enjoyed by a sophisticated sensibility, except through a condescending or distancing label.

See also Camp Gay, Macho Camp and Camp Straight. Compare So Bad, It's Good, Stylistic Suck and Narm Charm. Related to Large Ham and World of Ham. Not to be confused with the movie Camp, nor has anything to do with a Camping Episode.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The opening theme to Big O is an homage to the Flash Gordon theme.
  • The newest incarnation of the Cutey Honey anime, Re Cutey Honey, is deliberately rendered in a psychedelic, humorous 1970s-style exaggeration of the franchise's infamous violence and Fanservice. The live action movie is similar.
  • Mobile Fighter G Gundam uses a hammy, posing, comically serious style from start to finish, all the more noticeable in a franchise that until then was known for being dramatic and semi-realistic. Where earlier designs were clean and sober, the giant robots here look like an American footballer with boxing gloves on a surfboard, Sailor Moon, or a windmill. The combatants pose in latex bodysuits that link their movements to their robots, making the melée fighting close and personal in contrast to the detached, calculating feel of other entries. Every aspect is exaggerated to the point of ridicule, from the absurdity of the premise, past the national stereotypes, ringing voices and power-ups by willpower that flash the whole robot red, to the finale that sees hundreds of different robots rally to save the world. Like it or not, it is a deliberate choice with fully intended comedy.
  • Sailor Moon can fall under this trope sometimes, especially the first season. The Super Sentai-type fights are one indicator of this.
  • Smile Pretty Cure! (aka Glitter Force in America) is full of this. It's a Sailor Moon-like series complete with candy-colored superheroes, fairy tale villains, ridiculous monsters, cheesy dialog, and they beat the baddies with The Power of Friendship and Love.
  • Code Geass actually brings a rather large component of camp to everything from its voice acting (Lelouch, Lloyd and the Emperor are the most obvious examples), elaborate outfits and posing (see almost every time Zero gives a public speech), over-the-top events, crazy robot power-ups and many other elements. Not much of a surprise if you realize the director previously made s-CRY-ed and GUN◊SWORD, plus was also part of the staff who worked on Mobile Fighter G Gundam.
  • Star Driver, as one might expect from a Super Robot show produced by the Ouran High School Host Club team, is absolutely dripping in camp. The male lead is the only one with a Magical Girl-worthy Transformation Sequence, for example. It's just pure FABLUOUSness. But watch it for the gorgeous animation.
  • If Yoshiyuki Tomino is in a good mood while directing a Humongous Mecha show, chances are good that it'll fall into this. If not well...
  • Valvrave the Liberator seems to run purely on camp. One of the enemy factions is literally Space Nazis complete with Gratuitous German, and every episode seems to strive to add some twist even more insane than the one before.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: the anime's 2nd OP is a good demonstration of the glam Bishōnen action, but you can't realize how Campy it is until you perform or see the poses in real life, which caught on first with fans and spread to other anime and Japanese idols and celebrities.
  • Powerpuff Girls Z. More so than the original American show. Being a Magical Girl show, it's to be expected.
  • Yugioh has its lapses into this due to its premise in which card games are Serious Business and its English dub's hammy voice acting.

  • Gods of Egypt is low camp in spots, with severeral unintentionally funny moments and lunacy littered about in an otherwise dull film.
  • The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T, especially this number. The movie was written by Dr. Seuss, and it's exactly what you'd expect from him.
  • The Abominable Dr. Phibes
  • The Entire Burton/Schumacher Batman film franchise to varying extents. The first film less so than the succeeding three.
  • The Disney flick Condorman falls squarely into this category. It's pretty entertaining if you don't mind suspending your disbelief a bit (and remember that it was intended for kids).
  • Flash Gordon. The movie's script was written by Lorenzo Semple Jr., script consultant and sometimes episode writer for the Adam West-era Batman. The theme song is done by Queen. Of course it's going to be camp as hell.
    Flash - a-ah - saviour of the universe
    Flash - a-ah - he'll save everyone of us
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
    Flash - a-ah - he's a miracle
    Flash - a-ah - king of the impossible
    • The campiness was really enhanced by this being one of the first completely self-consciously Raygun Gothic productions made. All the designs for Mongo were completely over the top, and everyone had equipment just lying around that made no sense for them to have but was both cool and convenient. (A slideway from the edge of the deathmatch arena down to a rocketcycle in a city inhabited exclusively by people who can fly? Why not!)
  • The Showa (1955-1975) Godzilla films were just filled with this.
  • I, an Actress is a 10-minute short film in which legendary independent camp filmmaker George Kuchar gets a student in his acting class to deliver some ludicrous dialogue in a more and more hammy manner until she and the audience both start bursting into laughter.
  • Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill movies. Comically serious dialogue, over-the-top gore, and the hero's bright yellow spandex outfit are just the icing on the cake.
  • Labyrinth has an awkward performance from Jennifer Connelly as the lead, numerous Big Lipped Alligator Moments, the occasional Special Effects Failure (although the effects are spectacularly good for the most part), and hammy musical numbers sung by David Bowie in a pair of Painted-On Pants that leave very little to the imagination.
  • The Jack Frost movies. They're low-budget horror movies about a serial killer who gets his DNA fused with snow, which leads to him becoming a killer snowman. Naturally, the films don't take themsselves seriously.
  • The Lair of the White Worm is extremely campy. Some of Ken Russell's other films could count as well.
  • The Love Bug movies. We've got a car that likes to pull pranks, a silly, upbeat theme tune, cartoony villains, crazy old people, chase scenes where large groups of people seem completely unfazed by the chaos that passes them, etc.
  • Mommie Dearest has Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford gravely overacting while everyone else seems to be sedated. The editing only adds to the strangeness. For example, in one scene, Joan has been fired from her job and the scene ends with her boss turning around to the camera. Then there is an immediate cut to a screaming Joan, decked in an expensive evening dress, cutting apart her rose garden with a pair of hedge clippers and then ordering her daughter to "bring [her] the axe" so she can chop down a tree.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was meant to be a classic "dashing hero saves beautiful true love with aid of Lovable Rogue mentor" story. Then Johnny Depp took over and turned it into something glorious.
  • Moulin Rouge!. Derivative, archetypal plot? Check. Large Ham villains? Check. Large Ham non-villains in a World of Ham where everyone breaks out into song at regular intervals? Check. Ham-to-Ham Combat? Check. Soundtrack predominantly composed of pop music given a Softer And Slower Cover? Check. Costuming? Lavish. Aesthetics? Fantastic. Music? Amazing. Disney Acid Sequence? Definitely. Also, the director of the film (Baz Luhrman) is a Camp Straight.
  • Phantom of the Paradise, and oh so gloriously, from the music to the casting.
  • The 2000 film Psycho Beach Party is an Affectionate Parody of old camp films and is truely extremely camp itself.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
  • Tommy Wiseau's The Room is one of the more popular examples of low camp. Althought Wisseau made the smart marketing decision to now push it as an ironic comedy, it's clear to everyone that he originally meant it to be completely serious.
  • Sharknado and it's sequels.
  • Snakes on a Plane. Notably, the film started out as low camp and morphed into high camp over the course of its production process, thanks to its internet popularity and the noble efforts of Mr. Samuel L. Jackson to preserve the film's working title.
  • Tank Girl. More regarding the film version, which featured all staples of camp seen above. Bad jokes, bizarre plot, unexplained animation segments, Malcolm McDowell playing late-career Malcolm McDowell, and—of course—a random musical segment.
  • TerrorVision, an obscure 80's monster film, is this in loads. It's about a literal family of cliched stereotypes that install a dish for their TV and an Eldritch Abomination that barks like a dog gets received from space and comes out of their television to absorb everyone. It's like The Thing (1982), but a parody.
  • How could Temptation Island not be this? Consider this line by Suzanne/Serafina to Azenith/Cristina: "Good morning. What did you have for breakfast, Eggs Benedict? Did Umberto serve you?"
  • Troll 2 is loved because it is so delightfully camp and not scary at all.
  • Pretty much every film made by cult B-movie producers Troma Film has loads of camp value.
  • Vampire Cop Ricky splices camp with extremely serious scenes.
  • James Whale famously employed this in his 1930s horror films, particularly The Old Dark House (1932) and Bride of Frankenstein.
  • The film version of The Wiz.
  • The infamous The Wild Wild World Of Batwoman may well qualify as one of the worst movies ever, owing to its having been a failed attempt at camp. It is a rip-off of the Adam West TV series, right down to the ludicrous villains and the 60s go-go dancing. The producers of Batman took Jerry Warren to court, which is why he threw in that tacked-on opening about the "synthetic vampire" Batgirls.
  • Xanadu
  • The 1982 film version of Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie is about as camp as a murder mystery can be; a number of the characters are portrayed with very theatrical personalities and dialogue, and the music score consists entirely of arranged orchestral medleys based on Cole Porter songs.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Probably no TV show had as much intentional camp as its central focus than did the live-action Batman from the 1960s. Notorious for putting the prefix "bat-" in front of everything Batman did or used, and for Adam West's portrayal of Batman as a constantly emoting expositionist who had but one tone of voice no matter the situation. However, many of the people involved with the production debate the label as needlessly denigrating to the hard work they put into the show's elements of farce.
    • In his essay Batman, Deviancy and Camp, Andy Medhurst goes so far as to say the best definition of camp could be "sort of like the Batman TV show." Adam West has apparently made a career out of playing campy superheroes. Occasionally he even plays himself as if he thought he was a superhero.
    • West mentioned during interviews that he deliberately played up some 'campy' aspects of the show — it was, apparently, a necessity, as only part of his face was visible, and he had to find another way to express emotion.
    • Nowadays, the animated Batman: The Brave and the Bold series and its video game adoption has picked up the camp role. Besides its surprising emphasis on more obscure, cheesier villains, the show also gave us the Music Meister, a villain who controls the will of others by singing like Neil Patrick Harris.
    • The Mexican dub was even campier, the prefix "bat-" was changed to "bati-", and the characters got ridiculous dub names such as "Gatúbela" for Catwoman or "El Guasón" for The Joker (Even when the card is generally referred as "joker" in Spanish) and Bruce Wayne was changed to the more Hispanic Bruno Díaz. The dub was so successful that even today the characters are known officially as that even in later Darker and Edgier adaptations.
  • The original Battlestar Galactica series.
  • Blake's 7. Especially the villains.
  • Burke's Law. A Millionaire Playboy who also happens to be a police captain rides to crime scenes in a chauffeured Rolls Royce. The murders he investigates are almost always rather baroque and sometimes even excessively complex and the suspects are usually members of The Beautiful Elite of Los Angeles.
  • Doctor Who has flirted with camp on-and-off throughout its various incarnations. This was partly out of necessity, due to the low budget. However, camp is, in some ways, inherent in its premise: It's a world where the hero triumphs (usually deflating any attempts at seriousness in the process) by virtue of being gallant, romantic, and stoic in the British tradition. In Whovian circles, this push-pull dynamic between camp and drama is known as "Guns and Frocks", a term taken from one of the New Adventures novels. The Sixth Doctor, when confronted with a choice between fending off the villains with rifles or frocks, sides with frocks. The Doctor will always win in the most outlandish, silly way possible, because the alternative would be to resort to violence, which is against the franchise's philosophy.
    • This is not to say Who doesn't indulge in deconstruction now and again. The aforementioned New Adventures novels turned the Terrence Dicks interpretation of the Doctor ("Neither cruel nor cowardly") on its head: In Love and War, the Doctor still behaves like the children's hero we all know and adore - even parroting the same Dicks catchphrases - while simultaneously doing thoroughly fiendish things. This contradiction later surfaced on the Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood, most notably with the flamboyant pansexual immortal child killer Captain Jack — about as schizo a character as you can come up with.
    • The new series, faced with the terrifying prospect of a reasonable budget and cheap and high-quality special effects being widely available by that point, perhaps overcompensated for this by having a Darker and Edgier Doctor - one who was now the Last of His Kind, wore Nazi clothes and a shaved head and had committed double genocide as Back Story - fighting mostly extremely goofy comedy monsters over his short run, with the notable exception being the Daleks, a "serious" but legendarily campy 50s B-Movie-like monster played painfully straight here. The worry was that, with good special effects, the Narm Charm responsible for a lot of the campy appeal would be lost, and so it had to be added by replacing "low camp" with "high camp" - not least to avoid traumatising children (which the original series cared about much less, being by far the goriest show on the BBC at the time). By the second series, the Doctor got more mellow and the monsters got spookier, finding what is generally agreed to be a less mediocre middle ground - and it's still camp as hell.
    • Even some of the Nu-Who music comes under this - composer Murray Gold, when creating a Leitmotif for the Doctor's alien-ness, was deliberately asked to do it as a Cliché Storm, so he went with an operatic One-Woman Wail. This was nicknamed by him "Flavia's Theme", after an extremely campy One-Scene Wonder Time Lady in the story "The Five Doctors", who he could imagine singing it. It's deliberately overly dramatic, but at the same time hits exactly the emotional button it's supposed to push - both Angst and the promise of adventure.
    • The costume designs under John Nathan-Turner's tenure as producer were done this way for merchandising reasons, probably inspired by the Iconic Outfit appeal of the Fourth Doctor's scarf - the Doctors went from dressing in a somewhat bohemian, anachronistic approach to whatever is mainstream fashion of the day, into dressing in blatant costume, with red question-mark motifs and occasionally really hideous colour schemes. Many fans agree this crossed over into What The Hell Costuming Department, especially with the Sixth and Seventh Doctors, though the JN-T Fourth Doctor outfit is generally agreed to be flattering and quite good.
    • Some of the scores in the late 80s. Italo Disco Daleks, anyone?
    • The Rani, a ridiculous Large Ham Mad Scientist character written specifically in a 'gay icon' style.
    • The score of the official "Shada" reconstruction shot for this (alongside Retraux) as it was a late 80s-era Doctor Who scorer doing a very knowing pastiche of the 70s style scores, but it is generally agreed upon to be distracting, inappropriate and just really nasty to listen to.
    • Lampshaded in David Tennant and Catherine Tate's "Let's Do It" video in which Tate's Julie Gardner asked Tennant's Russell T. Davies, "let's revamp - make more camp - a sci-fi show from yesteryear".
  • The video for Sweden's 2007 Eurovision entry, "The Worrying Kind" by The Ark, is three minutes of pure, distilled camp.
  • Giant Robo. Look at the costumes!!
  • Both Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess delved into this with gusto. The latter is a heavily self-aware and unapologetic cult show about scantily-clad sapphic warriors fighting crime. Next item.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus featured an exhibition of Close-Order Swanning About.
    Drill Sergeant: Squad! Camp it... UP!
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 is a presentation of campy movies lampooned for your enjoyment. The sketches between movie segments tended toward the delightfully campy as well.
    Tom Servo: Well, time to start camping. You dress up as Oscar Wilde, and I'll sing NoŽl Coward songs.
  • Pee-Wee's Playhouse
  • Power Rangers and its parent series Super Sentai. It went for a Darker and Edgier setup for some of it's later seasons, though. After Power Rangers RPM, Saban bought the rights back from Disney and the show went back to its campy roots with Power Rangers Samurai.
  • Special Unit 2, an original series on UPN.
  • Tales of the Gold Monkey had more than its share.
  • The bread, butter, and jam of The Aquabats! Super Show!.
  • Sherlock borrows the aesthetics and Mood Lighting of gritty crime drama and uses it as window dressing for incredibly silly, implausible stories that take place in a world of movies and setting-transplanted pulp Victorian fiction rather than in the real world. This is partially demonstrated by how much joy it takes in Painting the Fourth Wall, and also in how much the dialogue implicitly mocks its own premise and characters while at the same time being in no way a Self-Parody. It is mostly able to handle its acute self-exaggeration and ridiculousness through extremely high-quality acting which plays it all exactly as straight as it has to be, making Sherlock himself The Comically Serious. Then there's the individual character Moriarty, who embodies all of this in himself alone.

  • Kevin Ayers features in possibly the gayest, most outrageously camp, music videos ever committed to tape. His 1973 hit Carribean Moon has all the gayness buttons deliberately racked up way past eleven. Julian clary would look like a macho straight. The video is also hilarious.
  • David Bowie, especially his stage persona of Ziggy Stardust in The '70s.
  • Everything Doctor Steel - or his fans - do is done consciously and conspicuously over the top.
  • The artist Gunther embodies camp, mullet and all. Witness the glory that is the Ding Dong Song.
  • Michael Jackson sometimes was intentionally campy, most famously with the song and video for "Bad", where he dances in a leather jacket to impress some gang members that he is "bad" like them.
  • Klaus Nomi, an eccentric pop star dressed in theatrical costumes who sings in an operatic voice on albums like Klaus Nomi and Simple Man.
  • Lady Gaga, who claims inspiration from the above two. "He ate my heart, and then he ate my brain!"
  • Kesha's music is loaded with over-the-top teen party imagery, cheesy lyrics, silly youth slang, and an exaggerated Valley Girl accent autotuned up the wazoo.
  • Kylie Minogue's career is practically built on this trope. See "Your Disco Needs You" and her Light Years album.
  • Queen's sound was essentially this combined with the Epic Riff and/or Epic Rocking. Lead singer Freddie Mercury was a decidedly Macho Camp variety of bisexual and loved to dress in fur and leather (and sported a Porn Stache later in his career).
  • Steps, even by The '90s pop standard. The three mains traits of the band were exaggerated dance moves, cheesey, happy music and bright colours and costume worn by the members. Like the Batman television series, it was intentionally camp.
  • Rob Zombie. His stage act self-consciously uses every bad cliche ripped from B-Movie Slasher Flicks, and yet he obviously has an affectionate attitude towards the source material and puts genuine effort into using it. For more evidence, see the ''Dragula'' video.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 

  • Most Broadway musicals, especially those adapted from movies.
  • The entire output of Gilbert and Sullivan is high camp. As ridiculously uppercrust as Sullivan was Gilbert made his living as a parodist. Their operetta Patience is particularly worth noting as being a camp parody of the, also very camp, aestheic movement.
  • Most Richard Strauss operas — especially Salome.
  • The musical of Little Women takes the short and melodramatic play that Jo and her sisters stage in the early chapters, and turns it into a musical number spanning the entire cast (all... six of them), stuffed chock-full of wholesome, affectionate camp.

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney has outlandish character designs, copious overacting, and very over-the-top trial sequences.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987), complete with four stereotypical main characters, aliens from another dimension and sometimes space, chemicals with absurd mutating properties, silly adventures, and, to top it off, an equally campy theme song.
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) plays with this trope on and off throughout its run. Considering that it's a mix between the original comics and first series explains it.
  • Teen Titans Go!
  • Totally Spies! is pure camp. We have three somewhat ditzy teenage girls who, for reasons unknown, become secret agents for a spy corporation oddly named WOOHP. They each wear their own bright-colored spandex outfits and are given silly gadgets that look like hairdryers, makeup kits, and many other female fashion-themed devices. The villains they face are absurd, complete with ludicrous motivations.
  • Uncle Grandpa is one of the campiest and trippiest shows you'll ever see. It's got a photo-realistic flying tiger that farts a rainbow trail for propulsion, talking pizza, Godzilla if he were a middle-aged man, a talking fanny pack, and a magical adult child with various abilities.
  • VeggieTales. They've got silly songs, corny jokes (pun intended), goofy adventures, and various other things.

    Real Life 
  • John Waters (whose guest appearance on The Simpsons provides one of the quotes above) has made a career out of it.
  • Many of the resorts on the Las Vegas Strip. Let's see; Fake Venice, Fake Paris, Fake New York, Fake Ancient Rome, Fake Camelot, Fake Ancient Egypt, Pirates on the Vegas Strip... if "camp" is defined as deliberate bad taste then the Las Vegas Strip is practically the best example out there. It is all incredibly over the top and tacky but it done so incredibly well that one cannot help think it is So Bad, It's Good.
    • The Venetian is the clearest case of Camp on the Strip. Most of the resorts do indeed have an exaggerated and theatrical presentation. However, not all of the resorts have the required derivative substance or hilarious badness or monumental tackiness. For instance, the Bellagio is certainly exaggerated in its theatricality, and presented very well. However, the resort takes itself very seriously and the vast majority of visitors to it consider it awesome rather than So Bad, It's Good.
    • With regards to the Treasure Island resort, their famous streetside "pirate battle" was originally a straightforward, theme-park like spectacle: pirates vs. the British navy, and the pirates win. When the resort was overhauled to appeal more to adults, this show became The Sirens of TI and became sirens (re: sexy, scantily-clad sea witches) vs. pirates; the sirens win and the pirates join them for a Dance Party Ending. Now THAT'S campy!
    • The bulk of Las Vegas shows qualified as mostly unintentional camp for decades. But then Cirque du Soleil arrived in The '90s and presented high theatricality and fun alongside elegance, subtlety, and artistic ambition. Audiences found it refreshing, and this triggered a sea change in Vegas entertainment. Nowadays, when you see a campy Vegas show, it's either intentional camp or an older show that didn't get the memo. For the latter, see this review of the last remaining Vegas showgirl show, Jubilee!
  • Really, any city known as a gambling/casino mecca will have at least a few of these:
    • Macau's own Fake Venice which is not only three times the size of it's Vegas counterpart, but even campier. Picture sitting in a Japanese restaurant, overlooking a fake indoor replica of the Grand Canal, with the gondolier rowing past and singing a (very good) rendition of Sarah Brightman's part in "Time To Say Goodbye". Oh, and the Brazillian steakhouse on the fake St Mark's Square, with street entertainers suddenly bursting out of doors to do rousing renditions of "Feniculi Fenicula". Oh yeah, it's more camp than Rufus Wainright.
    • Atlantic City, the Eastern Vegas. Its most famous pieces of ludicrous camp are probably its Fake India (though that looks like it'll be shut down), Fake Rome, and Fake Old Havana, but really, all the casinos either specialize in or at least include some kind of faux something (for instance, Bally's has the Wild Wild West section—even though the Golden Nugget also has a Wild West theme. In Atlantic City. Literally a few yards from the Atlantic Ocean in the case of Bally's. Yes.) Even when it's not aping something it's often ludicrously garish. That the rest of Atlantic City—heck, Atlantic County—has been kind of a mismanaged shithole for decades only accentuates the camp.
  • 19th century dandies, including Oscar Wilde and Lord Byron. Not all of them were necessarily gay, but they were all extremely camp, which is required for being a dandy.
  • Jonathan Ross repeatedly referred to LL Cool J as this during an appearance on "Friday Night with Jonathan Ross." LL had no idea what it meant. When he found out, hilarity ensued.