It is amazing the number of truly bad movies that make it to the big screen. I’m not talking about movies that are questionable. I’m talking about really BAD movies. I don’t know about you, but I hate spending my hard-earned money on any kind of tripe. Yet, because I love movies so much, I do get roped in from time to time.
In retrospect, I began to wonder what makes a movie bad? Generally, it isn’t any one single thing, but instead a series of unfortunate events. Truly bad movies tend to have a lot wrong with them. They have terrible direction, poor writing, and even worse acting. Oftentimes the photography is amateurish and the set and costume designs are vastly inferior; not always in terms of construction, but oftentimes in terms of how they are used.
In the past six months, I’ve managed to get my hands on some of 2006’s worst movies. That got me to wondering: What are the worst movies of all time? So I’ve done a little research and combined it with my film knowledge to compile a list of 30 of the worst films of all time. Do with it what you will. If you like bad movies, these are definitely the ones to see. If, however, you don’t want to waste you money, these are the ones to avoid:
Alone in the Dark – Sci-Fi (2005). Directed by Uwe Boll. Starring Christian Slater, Tara Reid, and Stephen Dorf. A detective of the paranormal investigates a mystery that brings him face to face with bizarre horrors that are both psychologically disturbing and lethal. He discovers that evil demons worshiped by an ancient culture called the Abskani are planning to make a come back to take over the world. Only he and a young anthropologist stand in their way. They call it alone in the dark so that they don’t have to do much with special effects, because they don’t.
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes – Sci-Fi (1979). Directed by John DeBello. Starring basically no one at all that anyone has ever heard of. Tomatoes go on a killing spree after a U.S. government experiment goes awry. This man against vegetable tale is so bad that it is actually kind of funny. However, it wasn’t billed as a comedy. Shamefully, it spawned three equally bad sequels.
Barb Wire – Sci-Fi (1996). Directed by David Hogan. Starring Pamela Anderson. Fresh from riding the waves of popularity built during her Baywatch days, sex kitten Anderson made her big-screen debut in this big-screen bomb. The movie supposedly takes place in 2017 with the U.S. embroiled in its second civil war. Alone and determined not to let anyone take advantage of her, Anderson plays a kick-boxing bar owner who doesn’t like to be called “Babe.” I don’t know where to begin to explain everything that is bad about this film. Wait, yes I do: EVERYTHING is bad about this film.
Battlefield Earth – Sci-Fi (2000). Directed by Roger Christian. Starring John Travolta, Forest Whitaker, and Kelly Preston. From author L. Ron Hubbard this inept futuristic drama shows an earth under the influence of a greedy security chief who enslaves prisoners to mine gold on his behalf. The movie became an instant camp cult classic because of the truly awful makeup and special effects.
The Black Shield of Falworth – Period (1954). Directed by Rudolph Mate. Starring Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. The film takes place in the days of King Henry IV. A young peasant (or so it is believed) man falls in love with a wealthy man’s daughter and trains to become a knight in order to regain his true birthright from those who stole it from him. Curtis as an English knight was a true stretch but then there was also his equally unusual stint in the film Tarus Bulba. A Brooklyn accent simply doesn’t belong in period pieces.
Blood Rayne – Horror (2005). Directed by Guineve Turner. Starring Kristanna Loken, Michael Madsen, and Geraldine Chaplain. The movie takes place in Romania in the 18th Century. It centers on a young dhampir – – half-human, half-vampire – – girl who seeks revenge against the rape of her mother by the vampire king. She joins in the quest of two vampire hunters from the Brimstone Society as a means to accomplish her goal. This film is gory but little else.
Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 – Horror (2000). Directed by Joe Berlinger. Starring no one of any import. This ridiculous follow-up to the cult classic “The Blair Witch Project” gives new meaning to the word bad. With a senseless, poorly written screenplay and inconceivably bad direction combined with actors – – and I use the term very loosely – – who should never again see the light of day, this film scrapes the bottom of the barrel on all fronts. The story, if you can call it that, centers on a group of college students who decide to visit the sites made famous by the original film. The result, thank goodness, is their ultimate demise.
Captain America – Fantasy (1990). Directed by Albert Pyun. Starring Matt Salinger, Ronny Cox, Ned Beatty, Darren McGavin, and Michael Nouri. During World War II, a brave American Soldier undergoes experiments to become a super soldier named Captain America. In Germany, he attempts to sabotage the rockets of a Nazi criminal called the Red Skull and ends up frozen in time until the 1990’s. Once he is revived, he finds that the Red Skull, who has now changed identities, is planning to kidnap the President. Let’s just say this movie stinks and be done with it.
Exorcist II: The Heretic – Horror (1977). Directed by John Boorman. Starring Richard Burton, Linda Blair, Louise Fletcher, James Earl Jones, Ned Beatty, and Max von Sydow. This movie takes place some four years after the original film. In it, a priest investigates the demon that remains inside Raegan’s head. There are good actors in this film who seem to have taken leave of their senses or, at the very least, left their talent somewhere else. Poorly written, poorly directed, and with bad special effects this movie never stood a chance.
From Justin to Kelly with Love – Musical (2003) Directed by Robert Iscove. Starring Justin Guarini and Kelly Clarkson of American Idol, Round One fame. A lonely, sexually repressed man meets an equally lonely and depressed woman during spring break in Miami. With the help of campfires in the moonlight, the two meet and fall in love amidst numerous badly choreographed musical numbers. Whoever thought this film was a good idea, obviously didn’t realize that singing talent wasn’t enough to carry the movie.
Gigli – Comedy (2003). Starring Jennifer Lopez, Ben Affleck, Christopher Walken, and Justin Bartha. Gigli, a not so talented hitman, is contracted by the mob to kidnap a mentally retarded young man, which he does; holding him hostage in his apartment. But his job is threatened by Ricki, a lesbian assassin sent to oversee him and make certain he doesn’t screw up. The best thing about this movie was the obviously lack of chemistry between Lopez and Affleck, which could be why they broke up not long after the movie came out.
Ghoulies 2 – Horror (1987). Directed by Albert Band. Starring basically no one of any import. This film picks up basically where the first movie left off. A few of the little nasty ghoulies stow away on an amusement park ride. The creatures get mad after an attempt is made to kill them and they go on their own rampage through the fairgrounds. More of the first film’s stupidity. It makes me ask why would anyone do that?
Glitter – Musical Drama (2001). Directed by Vondie Curtis-Hall. Starring Mariah Carey. A shy, young mixed-race girl is raised in an orphanage, where she befriends two other girls who become her best friends. Eventually, after singing backup for another act, along with her friends, Billie’s voice is heard by someone who wants to make her a star. But the pressure of her newfound celebrity puts a strain on her and makes her question what she really wants out of life. I’m not even going to go there.
Hercules in New York – Fantasy (1970). Directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. After centuries of living the life of a god, Hercules gets bored living in Olympus and decides to explore New York City. His father, Zeus, king of the gods, sends some of his friends – – also gods – – to bring him home. This was back in the day when Arnold’s accent was so heavy that he could barely be understood. Of course, in this instance, that was actually a blessing.
Howling II – Horror (1996). Directed by Philippe Mora. Starring Christopher Lee. This is a sequel to the popular original film. In this version, the brother of one of the werewolf victims from the first movie is out for revenge. A werewolf hunter convinces him that the world really is full of werewolves and he joins with a band of lycanthrope hunters in Transylvania on a mission to kill the werewolf queen. This movie has none of the good points of the original film, including the excellent special effects. This one has inferior effects, writing, direction, and acting.
I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer – Horror (2006). Directed by Sylvain White. Starring no one of any talent. A group of teens accidentally kill one of their friends during a 4th of July prank. They then vow to take the secret to the grave. However, one year later the secret comes back for revenge as the teens are picked off one by one. The first one was unique. The second one was predictable. This one is just plain awful. I implore the powers that be to stop making sequels.
Ishtar – Comedy (1987). Directed by Elaine May. Starring Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty. The movie focuses on two untalented singer-songwriters who accept a gig in Morocco where they somehow manage to get caught up in international intrigue. The problem with this comedy is there was no comedy. If Hoffman and Beatty actually played it for laughs, then neither actor deserves to be recognized for their supposed “brilliance.”
The Island of Dr. Moreau – Horror (1996 remake). Directed by John Frankenheimer. Starring Marlon Brando, Val Kilmer, and Ron Perlman. This version was the third remake of the H.G. Well’s classic about a mad scientist whose botched attempts to create a perfect creature result in a species that is half man and half beast. The worst part of this film was Brando’s acting. You have to wonder if he had already gone mad. He certainly acted like it in this movie.
It’s Pat: The Movie – Comedy (1995). Directed by Adam Bernstein. Starring Julia Sweeney, Kathy Griffin, and Kathy Nijimy. The androgynous character of Pat from Saturday Night Live, makes a movie. Enough said!
Laserblast– Sci-Fi (1978). Directed by Michael Ray. Starring Kim Milford, Roddy McDowell, and Kennan Wynn. The story centers on alien creatures that kill a mutated creature. However, they leave behind the alien’s remains as well as the high-tech laser gun he was using. An ostracized teenager who uses it and then begins to mutate as well subsequently finds the gun. This film is so hokey that it leaves the audience speechless, and not in a good way.
Leonard Part 6 – Comedy (1987). Directed by Paul Weiland. Starring Bill Cosby and Victoria Rowell. In this movie version, Leonard’s daughter is engaged to a man old enough to be his father and his estranged wife is acting bazaar. As if all that isn’t enough, the government has asked him to save the world, again. Been there, done that in versions 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation – Fantasy (1997). Directed by John Leonetti. Starring absolutely no one. I loved the original Mortal Kombat, although if you mention that, I’ll deny it whole-heartedly. Therefore, I was eager to see this version. All I can say is, I’ll never make that mistake again. This one follows the format of the original – -countless fight scenes between good and evil – – but that is where any similarity ends. Unlike the original, everything about this film was are poorly staged and absolutely laughable.
Plan 9 From Outer Space – Sci-Fi (1959). Directed by Edward Wood. Starring Bela Lugosi. In this laughable Ed Wood classic, which falls into the “so bad, it’s funny” category, a group of aliens think that they can conquer Earth by resurrecting corpses. The real claim to fame of this film is Wood’s hiring of a taller, younger man to complete Lugosi’s part after the actor died during filming. Need I say more?
The Raven – Horror (2007). Directed by Ulli Lommel. Starring unknown actors. This film centers on Lenore, a supposed reincarnation of Edgar Allan Poe’s legendary heroine and her battle with the Raven who has turned evil and began killing all her friends. This movie is so convoluted and ridiculous, I don’t even know where to start. It’s just plain bad from beginning to end.
Rhinestone – Comedy (1984). Directed by Bob Clark. Starring Sylvester Stallone and Dolly Parton. A popular country singer brags that she can turn anybody in to a country-western star. As proof she recruits a cab driver to fill the bill, preparing him to sing in public. Sylvester Stallone singing country music: Need I say more?
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians – Sci-Fi (1964). Directed by Nicholas Webster. Starring Pia Zadora. The Martians kidnap Santa. What else is there to say? There is nothing redeemable about this film.
Showgirls – Drama (1995). Directed by Paul Verhoeven. Starring Elizabeth Berkley and Kyle MacLachlan. I’m embarrassed to admit that I saw this movie but I wanted to see what Berkley could do with a big-screen role. I saw and it wasn’t pretty. The story centers on a young woman who aspires to be a legitimate dancer but ends up basically lap dancing her way through life. Think All About Eve in Vegas and you get the drift. The sets weren’t bad and the costumes were okay, but the acting and plot of this film were outrageously awful!
Striptease – Drama (1996). Directed by Andrew Bergman. Starring Demi Moore, Armand Assante, Burt Reynolds, Ving Rhames, Robert Patrick, and Frances Fisher. The film centers on a single mom who gets a job as a stripper in order to raise money for a custody battle for her child. The only thing good about the whole movie is Burt Reynolds as a horny congressman. He’s truly funny. The rest of the film is a huge flop; unless you count Moore’s assets in the positive, which I’m certain is more likely to be the case with male viewers.
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace – Fantasy (1987). Directed by Sidney Furie. Starring Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Jon Cryer, Margot Kidder, and Mariel Hemingway. In this version, the Man of Steel goes up against new adversaries that he can’t possibly beat – – legendary bad filmmakers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus. No fair stacking the deck against the big guy!
Waterworld – Fantasy (1995). Directed by Kevin Reynolds. Starring Kevin Costner, Dennis Hopper, and Jeanne Tripplehorn. The film really isn’t quite as bad as everyone made it out to be but it isn’t very good either. Costner as a man with gills and webbed feet who navigates the seas of the Earth in search of land just isn’t very good entertainment.
Trust me there was a lot movies to choose from. I could have easily included:
- Ace Ventura When Nature Calls,
- Alligator 2,
- Amittyville Horror (all of them),
- Car 54: Where Are You?
- Dumb and Dumberer (yes, that’s the name),
- The Frightners,
- The Grudge 2,
- Howling 3,
- Jaw’s the Revenge,
- Mary Reilly,
- Myra Breckinridge,
- Never Ending Story 3,
- Policy Academy 7,
- Ready to Wear,
- She Devil,
- Strays, and
- Super Mario Brothers.
These don’t begin to scratch the service of truly bad films but it’s a beginning that might help you keep from spending your valuable money renting truly bad movies.