PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE
Perennially considered one of the worst films ever created, Plan 9 from Outer Space holds a special place in the hearts of many a film enthusiast. It's the worst of the worst from Ed Wood, often considered to be one of the worst directors of all time. The story essentially follows an alien race's ninth attempt (hence "Plan 9") to take over the world, but this particular method involves reanimating and controlling deceased corpses to exact the world domination... I'm sure you can see where the badness of this film is coming from. To top it all off, we've got some classically bad acting that's so stiff that you'll be rolling with laughter. The sets are laughable as well, and I'm pretty sure some of them actually start to break and fall apart during the course of the film. This also proved to be Bela Lugosi's last film, but there's even some crap that comes with it. Lugosi died before the film was finished, so he was replaced by a younger, taller man who would simply hold a cape over his face during his shots. The disparity between the two is still alarmingly obvious, and it provides quite a bit of fun. Plan 9 is easily the worst film I've ever seen, but I could watch it day in and day out and be completely fascinated at its complete horribleness.
I feel like I'm going to catch a lot of flak for putting Godspell on this list because it's a rather beloved film in certain circles at my church. The film's subtitle reads "A Musical Based on the Gospel According to Matthew," so you know we're definitely in for a bit of a religious experience, so to speak. However, this film adaptation of an off-Broadway play takes place within the heart of 1970s New York City, and it all feels just a little too awkward. Victor Garber plays Jesus, but as you can see in the picture, it's a vision of Christ like none we've ever really seen before. The chorus of characters around him also proves to be a little eccentric, but they're all so goofy that it's difficult not to like them. To be honest, the film in its entirety is just a little too goofy to be taken seriously, but it's definitely functional in attracting and grabbing your interest. We're actually given a slew of fantastic songs throughout Godspell, but I might just be thinking that considering I've heard them used at church retreats and such. Knowing that they were taken from this musical dampers them a little bit, but ultimately, Godspell brings a goofy kind of fun that's hard to deny, especially if you're Catholic.
JAWS 3-D and JAWS: THE REVENGE
1983 and 1987
I had such a difficult time choosing between the third and fourth installments in the Jaws franchise that I decided to list them both together. The 1975 film is iconic for a dozen reasons and should always be considered one of the greatest films ever made, so it forces one to wonder how subsequent sequels could turn out so absolutely terribly. Let's start with Jaws 3-D. For starters, it's in 3D, and that's enough to condemn it from the start, especially considering the level of third dimension brought to the screen (see the picture for an example). Add the fact that it takes place at Sea World makes it all the more tantalizingly terrible. The 3D is probably the most laughable part, but it's used so often that it's hard to give the rest of the film a chance. Jaws 3-D was considered such a train wreck that Universal Studios continues to deny that it was part of the Jaws franchise, instead calling Jaws: The Revenge the third installment. Unfortunately for them, Revenge proves to be the worst of the bunch. It forces you to believe that a great white shark would travel from New England to the Bahamas in order to catch Martin Brody's wife Ellen as revenge. Then don't forget to watch for the fact that this shark can roar like a lion and walk on its tail on top of the water. Wait, it can walk on water? Perhaps this shark should've played Christ in Godspell...
SURF NAZIS MUST DIE
If you can read this title without wondering what the hell is going on, then you should be given an award. Obviously, the concept of "surf nazis" is going to draw people to this late-80s bore-fest. The basic plot goes something like this: after a devastating earthquake in Los Angeles, all semblance of authority has been lost, especially along the coastal regions. Rival surfing gangs claim certain pieces of territory, and the Surf Nazi gang is easily the most powerful and most dominant of the bunch. They fight the rival gangs over their territory, trying to establish complete dominance over southern California beaches. Sound like a movie you'd like to see? I know it garnered my interest. Unfortunately, it's almost just a "bad" movie. It moves so slowly, and the logic behind everything is so warped that it's difficult to follow on even a basic storyline level. Fortunately, the final fifteen minutes make the film entirely worth watching, providing a romping chase sequence that culminates in one of the most brilliantly placed bad lines I've ever heard. The climactic moments turn Surf Nazis Must Die into a must-see trash film, so if you can make it through the first seventy minutes, then you should be in good shape.
KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE
Followers of my blog will know that I only recently watched Killer Klowns from Outer Space (as is evidenced by the recent post that is linked in the above title), but it was so amazingly bad that it quickly found a slot on this particular list. You need not look past the ridiculous look of the alien clowns that take over the town to find why this movie is worth watching, but there's definitely more to see for those of you who are paying attention. The film actually succeeds in hitting almost every clown "stereotype" from the goofy little gags to the crowding of tiny cars with way more people than should be possible. They even use carnival food to track, attack and trap their victims. I mean, they wrap the people they kill in cotton candy cocoons then drink their innards through silly twirly straws. As is the norm on this list, we've got some terrible acting, but it should be mentioned that John Vernon - who most of you would probably recognize as Dean Vernon from National Lampoon's Animal House - plays an exceptionally terrible role that's worth every second of his screen-time. It's very stupid but very fun and definitely worth a watch if you've got a chance.
Adding the made-for-television adaptation of Stephen King's novel It onto this list was a tough decision for me. For starters, made-for-TV movies are generally of a lesser caliber than their theatrically-released brethren, but you'll see a couple more TV flicks on this list because they are, in fact, movies. However, the real problem here is that I absolutely love Tim Curry as our villain Pennywise in this flick. I found him to be brutally perfect throughout the film; he's so good, in fact, that I placed Pennywise on my list of favorite movie villains. That being said, the reason I ultimately placed It on this list is because of the rest of the film. Curry could only do so much to make this flick a success, but nobody else brought their A-game. It truly is a bad, bad film, from the direction to the screenplay to the acting, save Curry. It's over-acting at its finest from our group of adult leads, and they're so bad that I never once felt I should care about any of them even in the slightest. The child actors do a little bit better, and it's actually nice to see a young Seth Green make an appearance. Ultimately, the acting and the shoddy storytelling bring this one down, but Tim Curry is so brilliant that it brings this bad flick into the realm of amazing.
AMERICAN KICKBOXER 1
I actually have a more personal attachment to American Kickboxer 1 than your standard viewer in that I know the film's lead personally. His name is John Barrett (on the left, in the picture), and I practiced martial arts under him for nearly eight years during my pre-adolescence and adolescence. He always had a poster of this film hanging inside the studio, so a few years after I stopped going to my karate classes, I found the film online for a couple of bucks. I did not hesitate to buy it, and I watched it the moment it arrived in the mail. Ultimately, we've got a Rocky-esque flick that's centered around kickboxing rather than strictly boxing. Unfortunately for Mr. Barrett, as I had to call him during my training days, American Kickboxer 1 never comes close to reaching anything resembling a good flick, but it's not really his fault. He does well with his character, but I couldn't see past his normal persona when I watched the film. I kept seeing John Barrett, and that was part of the appeal. However, what makes this film so "bad" is the film's central villain, played by a man named Brad Morris. I don't know whether he actually has an accent, but he brings a very thick Eastern-European accent to the role, and his over-the-top anger just proves to be ridiculous. The film's slow, and it really is just flat-out bad, but it holds a special place in my heart considering my relation to Barrett.
I know what you're thinking: Movie Guy, why would you subject yourself to the horrors of a movie featuring the Spice Girls? Well, I have your answer. I have a very dear friend who's introduced me to a number of films, including The Rocky Horror Picture Show, A League of Their Own, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut and the aforementioned It. She also brought Spice World into my collective conscious for the very purpose of giving me another film that's utterly terrible but entirely enjoyable. Sure, it's the Spice Girls, and acting was never their strong suit (and many would argue that neither was singing, but that's neither here nor there). The adventure they undertake in the film is so outrageous that it deserves to be considered hilarious. When you throw in the likes of Alan Cumming and Meat Loaf, as well as a cameo by Sir Elton John, you've got the makings of an instant-classic in the negative regards. I've only seen the film once, but it's stuck with me ever since simply because it's proof that bands - especially pop bands - aside from The Beatles probably shouldn't make feature films as themselves.
HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION and HALLOWEEN
2002 and 2007
Like the Jaws franchise flicks mentioned earlier, I couldn't decide which Halloween film to include in this list. I ultimately chose the last of the "original" franchise and the first of Rob Zombie's remake disasters to feature here, so let's delve into them, shall we? Halloween: Resurrection stars Tyra Banks and Busta Rhymes as two TV show creators who get a bunch of teenagers to spend the night in the Myers household for one night. They hope the show will present some scares, but little do they know that Michael himself will be haunting their shoot that night. There's absolutely zero real scares within the film, and you'll be rolling with laughter at their attempts to make you jump out of your seat. It's pathetic, really, but the addition of Banks and Rhymes to the cast makes this one comically bearable. As for Zombie's first remake - his sequel is a whole 'nother level of bad - I couldn't go thirty seconds without crying with laughter. Nothing in the film makes sense, and the attempt to give more of a back-story on a younger Michael Myers just proved to be over-the-top creepy. I don't know if I've ever laughed that much throughout a horror flick, but I could watch it over and over again and chuckle every single time.
Like Killer Klowns, I've also seen and reviewed this flick relatively recently. It's another made-for-TV movie that sends special ops forces onto a remote island in search of a kidnapped agent. Unbeknownst to the good guys and the bad guys is the fact that the island is populated with supposedly extinct dinosaurs that start to off the humans one by one. Aside from the standard crappy acting we receive from Sci-Fi original movies, there's quite a bit of badness to enjoy in this one. The dialogue is horrendously bad, and you'll be scratching your head in wonder as you try to understand what normal human being would actually speak the way these characters speak. But the "best" part about the movie are the terrible special effects. With the actual "raptors," you can tell that the effects guys tried to make something slightly resembling the velociraptors from Jurassic Park; however, they look much more cartoonish this time around. Also, whenever they happen to get hit by a stray bullet, there's a slight explosion of red (to signify blood, of course), but there's never any lasting wound on any of the creatures. It looks like the effects were created on a computer in about ten minutes, and that's probably all the effort that was really needed for a flick like this.
WHEN A STRANGER CALLS
Talk about a completely terrible horror movie. I originally saw When a Stranger Calls when it was in theaters with a buddy of mine. It was a sold out show, and we were the only non-African-American people in the entire theater. Now, I hope you don't consider me racist for calling out this stereotype, but we all know how the African-American community can react to horror films, so When a Stranger Calls quickly became a comedy for my friend and I. But all that aside, there's really nothing working within the constructs of the film that gives it any real credence. The acting isn't horrendous, but it's not like anyone's making a charge for legitimacy. The real problem with the flick is that it falls into every horror cliché imaginable. For example, there's a prolonged scene where the lead's best friend is trying to leave the house. She gets out to her car - it's raining, by the way - and hears someone running through the foliage through the wind. She drops her keys on the ground, and they somehow manage to end up three feet under the car. When she gets them, she tries to turn the ignition, but it won't start. Finally it does, but when she tries to back up, she sees a tree branch in the road behind her. So of course, she goes out to move out. Right when she's about to get back to the car, the attack comes. Talk about predictable. Talk about hilarious.
In my opinion, M. Night Shyamalan hasn't made a legitimate film since 2000's Unbreakable, so you can rest assured of where this write-up is heading. The Happening starts out well enough, but it quickly turns into a giant turd of a film. We start out seeing people off themselves in massive numbers, and it establishes itself as an effective thriller. However, I think there's only so much mass suicide that an audience can stand before it starts to get a little bored. Sure, the methods of suicide become more creative, but in this case, "creative" is synonymous with "ridiculously funny." When a zookeeper walks into a lion's pen and essentially feeds himself to the beasts, there's no way I'm holding my laughter inside me. When you add the fact that we have career-worst performances from both Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel, you can be sure that there's no way that The Happening was going to stay afloat. Oh, and the final resolution tries to justify the fact that the audience has just watched Wahlberg and Deschanel spend an entire film running from wind. We're not that dumb, Shyamalan. But thanks for the comedy. It was a nice change of pace for you.
MEGA SHARK VS. GIANT OCTOPUS
You knew that Raptor Island wasn't going to be the only Sci-Fi original movie to make this list. When you've got a movie titled Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, you know it's going to ooze some badness. Let me set the stage a little bit. Basically, the government finds two monstrous creatures, a giant great white shark and a massive octopus, living beneath the peaceful waves. I don't really remember if they do anything to people on land, but they definitely start attacking drilling rigs on the ocean and military ships around the world, so security is quickly heightened. Oh, and the shark jumps out of the ocean and pulls a passing airline jet out of the sky as well. You know, standard stuff. So the government does their best to pit the two creatures against one another in the hopes that they'll ultimately kill each other off. Like Raptor Island, the bad special effects are definitely a drawing factor in this one, and the logic behind the characters' methods of stopping the creatures will leave you chuckling and scratching your head. The Sci-Fi channel definitely delivers again!
I originally saw this film tempting me on NetFlix's Instant Watch, and the title and poster immediately drew me to it. Within the first minute, I had already had a satisfying experience. The movie is about a group of college students who make their way home for their Thanksgiving holiday, but along the way, they stumble across the re-animated corpse of a talking, murderous turkey. That's right, a talking, murderous turkey. If your interest has not been piqued, then you're not human, my friend. Now, there's a strong possibility that the filmmakers and actors deliberately chose to make as bad a movie as possible, in the hopes that it could garner a cult following, but either way, this film definitely deserves to be on a "so bad, it's good" list. The acting is about as bad as you're ever going to see, but we actually hit five key character components to a good horror film, given that we have a good girl, a jock, a nerd, a redneck and a slut. But the film really belongs to Turkey, whose one-liners are so sadistically hilarious that I would bet money that you won't be able to sit through them without laughing. He's so good, in fact, that I gave Jordan Downey the win for Best Voice Acting in my 2009 awards for bringing Turkey to life. ThanksKilling is a laugh-fest that you won't regret watching.
THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE: FIRST SEQUENCE
This is like the bad movie of the moment, isn't it? I mean, the concept alone is enough to make you squirm: there's a sick and twisted doctor in the middle of Germany who kidnaps three people and chooses to turn them into a "human centipede" by surgically fusing them together ass to mouth. What really makes this movie laughable is that it's not even the slightest bit disgusting. We never actually see any of the sickest parts of the surgery, and none of the aftermath is really shown. There's one scene that should prove disturbing as the front leader of the centipede succumbs to his bodily functions, but you never see anything graphic. Fortunately, seeing this creature walk around is enough to bring some laughter, and the evil doctor (portrayed by Dieter Laser) is so over-the-top that you'd be hard-pressed not to find him even a little bit humorous. Oh, and I just can't wait for the sequel. It should be even more fantastic, in the worst sense.
I hope you've enjoyed my little foray into the world of films that are so bad, they're good. I'd like to leave you with the following video which I saw years ago. It gives you the worst film scenes in six different categories, so I hope you enjoy this as well!