HAVE YOU EVER watched a movie that you knew was horribly produced, and yet you couldn’t take your eyes off the screen until the end credits?
These movies are stuck in a sort of middle-ground twilight zone somewhere between awesome and unbearable. They seem to be terrible, but despite the silliness, bad acting and absurd plots, I still find them entertaining. In fact, I spent my whole birthday weekend conducting “research.”
Here are ten of the worst.
1. Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)
Plot: Aliens resurrect dead humans as zombies and vampires to stop humankind from creating the Solaranite.
Crowned as the worst movie ever made by the Golden Turkey Awards book, Ed Wood’s craptastic masterpiece is so bad it hurts.
This movie will make you laugh hysterically (or cry) and choke on your popcorn while gawking at horrible acting and terrible sets that would make any class-Z porn movie director sing praises. Paper-plates attached on strings as flying saucers, unrelated footage of dead actors, shower curtains as airplane cockpit doors, wobbly cardboard tombstones and scenes jumping from day to night and back again are just some of the examples that make this movie a true heavyweight champion in the bad movie genre.
2. Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 (2000)
Plot: In the year 3000, humans are enslaved by an alien race called the Psychlos. They start to fight back for their freedom.
Fans of L. Ron Hubbard’s novel, stay away! This unintentionally funny sci-fi flick will make you crawl under your desk and weep silently in a fetal position.
Why would John Travolta even accept a role as an alien leader walking on stilts, looking like a dreadlock-sporting bleached Klingon wearing nose-plugs? I have no idea. Also, director Roger Christian probably convinced himself he could hide the movie’s mediocrity by shooting in weird angles and using crappy colored filters. Nice try, Roger.
3. Death Bed: The Bed that Eats (1977)
Plot: A truly unusual shocker about a killer bed that devours its users.
The title says it all: An evil canopy bed sucking young innocent nappers into a golden pee-like gastric juice. Never under any kind of drug or alcohol influence would I be able to come up with such an incredibly absurd plot.
Shot in 1977 and never distributed, this horror flick was officially released in 2003 after the filmmaker George Barry discovered three decades later it had been pirated and had gathered a huge cult audience.
The black censorship bars to hide the young maiden’s breasts are especially amusing.
4. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1978)
Plot: After reports of mysterious attacks involving people being eaten by tomatoes, a special government task force is set up to investigate the violent veggies and put a stop to their murderous spree.
Luckily, this movie never takes itself seriously and is meant to be a parody of 70s horror flicks. However, being a parody doesn’t necessarily require bad acting…but this movie is full of it, which just makes it even more hilarious. If one killer tomato movie doesn’t scar you for good, check out the sequels Return of the Killer Tomatoes, The Killer Tomatoes strike back or worse… Killer Tomatoes eat France.
5. The Blob (1958)
Plot: A mysterious alien form starts devouring the residents of a small town, causing it to grow bigger and bigger.
One of the most popular sci-fi-horror flicks of the 50s (with a remake in 1988), The Blob is also known for having Steve McQueen star in his first big role.
Imagine a translucent giant alien man-eating bubble, riding meteorites and oozing out of every tiny hole to eat doctors, nurses, crazy old men and half a theatre. Imagine also a young McQueen, along with obscure actors ranging from mediocre to downright bad, all taking the pretentious script a little too seriously. Add in a little catchy theme song and you’ll have a true classic to laugh at with your friends during Saturday movie nights. Just ditch the popcorn and make yourself some jello cubes for a change.
6. Manos: the Hands of Fate (1966)
Plot: A family gets lost on the road and stumbles upon a hidden underground devil-worshiping cult led by the fearsome Master and his servant Torgo.
You can’t expect a Texas fertilizer salesman with a handheld camera that shoots only 30 second scenes with no sound to create a masterpiece. But Harold P. Warren took the challenge and produced this indescribably amateurish contender for the “best-worst” crown.
It takes a lot of talent to keep a straight face while playing a half-goat dude with giant swollen knees who worships a demonic master. What makes the movie even more hilarious is that all the voices were later dubbed by three people, making everybody in the movie sound alike. For the record, only two members of the cast were paid: one actor received a bicycle and a dog had free dog food. Just fabulous.
7. Troll 2 (1990)
Plot: A family vacationing in a small town discovers the entire place is inhabited by goblins in disguise as humans, who plan to eat them.
Don’t be fooled by the title. You won’t see any trolls in this movie. Instead, you’ll learn that there are hordes of goblin midgets disguised as humans in a remote town called Nilbog (now say it backwards). These little monsters are on a strict vegetarian diet and only eat liquefied humans turned into a pile of gooey vegetable. Yes, vegetarian cannibal goblins.
This movie is so irrational and badly produced that the director decided to call it Troll 2 (instead of the original title, Goblins) to try to pass it as a sequel to the unrelated Troll movie. Just check out the great acting in this infamous “Oh My Goooooood” scene scene above.
8. Braindead (1992)
Plot: An overbearing mother is turned into a zombie after being bitten by a mysterious creature and ends up infecting the residents of the town.
Before producing blockbusters like The Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson was pretty much into low-budget gore films like the brilliantly blood-soaked Braindead cult movie he produced in 1992.
The acting might be ridiculous but this fast-paced, gut-wrenching, disgusting, and hilarious movie has everything – a horrifying rat monkey, a baby zombie, zombies having sex, gratuitous violence, extreme gore, a super fighting ninja priest, an evil overbearing zombie mother, talking intestines and the best zombie-chopping scene with a lawnmower ever made. Guaranteed you’ll laugh your head off.
9. The Last Dragon (1985)
Plot: A young man searches for the “master” to obtain the final level of martial arts mastery, known as “the Glow”.
Picture a young, shy, martial arts artist called Bruce Leroy (Bruce Lee-roy…get it?) struggling with life questions about his virginity and skin color. This young man is on a quest to master the best martial arts technique called “the Glow”. No Twilight crap here. With this special privilege, you don’t sparkle…you’re so badass you GLOW. While you’re at it, throw in a pop-singer in love kidnapped by a corrupted obsessed music promoter and a towering evil dude who thinks he’s the Shogun of Harlem. The result is this silly, over-the-top, jam-packed movie with `80s nostalgia, set in a colorful pop-culture world.
10. The Room (2003)
Plot: A black comedy about love and passion, betrayal and lies.
This list wouldn’t be complete without including Tommy Wiseau’s “work of art”, The Room. Every scene opens up with a “Oh, Hi!” and the plot is… wait, what plot? The acting is non-existent as well.
The movie is so bad that producers started pretending it was intended to be a comedy. But comedy or not, this shit is so awfully good it just makes me want to chill on the roof and “Think, ya know?”