There is a perverse joy in watching really, really bad movies and mocking them throughout and, according to some studies, this strange phenomenon is actually a sign of intelligence as your brain has to acknowledge that the film is objectively bad, whilst identifying why it is enjoying itself. Let's get this straight, some films are just bad...like, 'don't watch, it'll be 2 hours of your life you'll never get back' bad but some are so bad, they're actually kind of good.
Whether it is because they don't realize how bad they are and thus become inadvertently funny or whether it is because the production values just don't match the size and scope of the initial idea, we look at 15 of the best worst movies around.
Sharknado typifies everything about a good B-movie that seizes upon a ridiculous premise and runs with it in a gory, camp fashion and makes it fun by realizing it is not going to ever be taken seriously. If you've ever been up at 3am watching one of the rarely settled upon satellite channels, you'll have seen many movies along the lines of Mega Snake or Megaladon Vs Giant Squid or other ridiculous ideas but this is the creme de la creme of this B-movie genre.
The idea that you can have a tornado made of Sharks is stupid, but the production values are pretty good considering it's a low-budget film and the acting is deliberately hammy. It has become a bit of a cult phenomenon and had 4 sequels to its name alongside comic books, video games and figurines. The joke is wearing extremely thin by now but if you haven't seen the first, definitely give it a go.
Zardoz is ridiculously hard to follow, convoluted and has a hairy Sean Connery running around in red, leather chaps. So how could it ever be considered good? Well, it is a sci-fi thriller where the human race is split into the Brutals, a common race of people trying to stay alive in a barren wasteland, and the Eternals, an immortal race of super beings who live on a higher plane.
There is a giant stone head and kitsch, terrible dialogue but at no point does anyone in the film give away that they might be aware just how absurd this movie is. It is a wonder any of these people made anything after this film but most had pretty successful careers after it and it has been lodged into the pop culture psyche due to that image of the former James Bond.
13. The Wicker Man
The original 1973 cult classic horror film of the same name is one of the best, downright chilling, thriller-come-horror movies you will ever see but the entirely unnecessary remake is a shambolic mishmash of everything bad in filmmaking which, in turn, makes it one of the greatest ever, unintentional comedies.
Nicholas Cage has won an Oscar for his overtly dramatic, insane and chaotic acting but beyond that point, it became weird and mostly jarring in a series of terrible films. Here, it is employed to awful effect as the original action is supplanted from a remote Scottish isle to rural America as he hams it up to the nines and delivers awful dialogue with immense passion and intensity. The best part is when he is attacked by bees!
12. Plan 9 From Outer Space
Ed Wood has been labeled the worst director of all time for his attempts at filmmaking and yet much of his work has gone down in the annals of cult legends and even inspired the likes of Tim Burton who paid a tender tribute to the man in his own, very good, film Ed Wood. Poor Mr. Wood just had a passion and love for movies and wanted to create epics that were much loved, and he sort of achieved this with this bumbling space opera of ridiculous proportion.
Aliens try to prevent humanity from creating a super weapon that could destroy the universe by invading the planet and reanimating the dead. Production values were so low, toys on a string were used as flying saucers, shower curtains used as airplane cockpits and a genuinely sterling performance from Bela Lugosi. It hasn't aged very well, but then, it never looked good in the first place.
11. Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective was an alright comedy from the 90s that nowadays would be frowned upon for its jokes about transgender people and its crude, slapstick humor. The ok, sequel is 90 minutes of gurning, jiggly hipped nonsense from Jim Carrey returning to the role that made him a household name. The plot revolves around a sacred white bat, the animal Ventura hates the most, having to be returned to an African tribe that worships it. Some pretty serious and well-known Shakespearean actors turn up in it to collect a paycheck and Carrey's comedy mostly comes from playing with his posterior.
What makes this stupid film, watchable is its outrageous Rhino-birth scene and intro that parodies Cliffhanger, where you know what you are watching is dumb but you get a laugh out of it anyway. Sadly, probably an apt description of Carrey's career ( not including the excellent Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).
10. Birdemic: Shock and Terror
Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds is a horror classic that has aged so badly that it is now kind of hilarious in how bad the special effects are but in an attempt to update the premise James Nguyen made Birdemic: Shock and Terror which is...er.... kind of hilarious in how bad the special effects are. Factor in the awkward direction that sees shaky framing and shoddy dialogue and you have a movie so awful that people have an enduring love for it.
It is held in the hearts of so many bad film connoisseurs that it has spawned a sequel and is planned to be made into a trilogy of absolute nonsensical rubbish. Admittedly, entertaining nonsensical rubbish.
The guy who gave us genuine action classics such as RoboCop and Total Recall (the first one, the good one) turns his hand to gender politics and screws it up...like, really, really badly. To the point that it is exploitative, offensive and morally repugnant. So why would anyone want to watch it? Well, for one thing, it is overly dramatic, it is a wonder that anyone thought this would be a genuinely thought provoking film.
Some have argued that it is genuinely an insightful satire on Hollywood but it really just looks like something from a 15-year-old boy's fantasies and the fact that it misses the mark on so many things, so badly makes it rather entertaining in a horrifying and outdated way.
8. Masters Of The Universe
In what was an attempt to cash in on a line of Mattel toys, Master's Of The Universe become an excellent animated TV show, a series of okay to sub-par comic books and a just, downright awful film. The movie starred action hunk, Dolph Lundgren, rocking a mullet and not much else as He-Man, a testosterone-fuelled defender of the Universe against a skull-faced nemesis named Skeletor.
The dialogue is bad, delivered poorly and Lundgren's disdain for even being there shows. That being said, if one single item could encapsulate the 80s, it would be this film of big hair, mass marketing, and campy, overt masculinity. Beware, though, it may ruin your childhood.
7. Jingle All The Way
Arnie in anything than straight up action is always going to be a stretch of his...er...unique talents but Jingle All The Way seems to hint at the fact that it knew this as he is cast as just a regular dad trying to get the must have toy for his son for Christmas. Y'know a regular American dad with an Austrian accent and the body of a three-time Mr. Universe winner. Standard.
Anyway, this film is actually wonderful to anyone who grew up in the 90s who's eyes will glaze over with affection for this film that tries to comment on consumerism and the pressures it puts on parents, whilst turning out to be an out and out slapstick farce. That being said, Arnold Schwarzenegger is the man you want to deliver poorly written one liners and many people will refer to this as a Christmas classic.
6. Conan The Destroyer
Another Arnie film to make this list. Conan The Barbarian was quite good. Alright not good but, not bad and it was a solid action film with decent fantasy elements to it. It captured the brutality of the books and was a brutal, bloodthirsty muscle-fest. The sequel was a trainwreck of epic proportions that was pushed more towards comedy to try and make more money, which it did not.
Camp, clunky and stupid it does not make Scwarzanaegger look good as he spits out line after line of the worst dialogue imaginable and yet that is what makes it so great. It is action cliches at it worst all rolled into one with pretty good cinematography that captures an element of the pulp joy from the original trashy novels. Also, pop icon Grace Jones makes a fantastic appearance in it.
5. Judge Dredd
In 1995, an American production of a British comic book character was made that starred Sylvester Stallone. The original comic book is an ultra-violent, dark satire on the state of America from a view across the pond. The film ripped its humor out and betrayed the character by revealing his face, something that he never does in the comics. The problem was that the American production missed the satire behind the source material and viewed it as a full on comedy and made a cheesy action flick of terrible puns and a sleazy Rob Schneider appearance.
That being said, it is a fun and silly action adventure with some brilliant production design. The 2012 film Dredd was an infinitely superior interpretation of the character but wasn't anywhere near as funny.
4. Mortal Kombat
Often derided as a pretty bad film, this adaptation of the beat-em-up fighting video game was actually pretty darned successful and took $70m in domestic markets that equate to around $139m in modern money once you factor in inflation. It also did relatively well in international markets in a time when they weren't as big a base as they are now. Generating a god-awful, franchise-killing sequel, most do not remember this film fondly but they still paid out to see it.
It's action an OK action flick but its low budget CGI, terrible one liners and techno style theme tune all make it a product of its age that has more comedic value than anything else.
3. Street Fighter
Another awful adaptation of a side scrolling beat-em-up video game, this was a hunk of brainless fun that spent nearly a quarter of its budget on star Jean-Claude Van Damme. It was a rushed mess of a film with a camp villain rather than an imposing one and a young Kylie Minogue giving her acting chops a whirl. It is a bad action film that the critics hated but it made money.
Just a film full of fighting, terrible one-liners and nothing much else, it is plainly idiotic but in a hilarious manner.
2. The Room
If you haven't heard of this film, where have you been? A self-financed vanity project of the writer, producer, actor and star Tommy Wiseau this has become a legendary film in cult circles as midnight showings see fans scream at the continuity errors and the out of focus frames whilst the laconic acting styles are just laughable.
The irony is, the film did make Wiseau a star but for all the wrong reasons and now A-list stars are lining up to be in a film about the making of the film James Franco is set to produce, direct and star as Wiseau, with the blessings of the man himself.
1. Troll 2
This is the very definition of a cult film and may well be the very best in bad filmmaking to ever grace our screens. Called Troll 2 to try and encourage whoever saw the first Troll movie to see it, the original wasn't a good film itself and this has nothing to do with it. The bizarre storyline is about vegetarian goblins who turn their victims into plants and then eat them, it was spawned from the director’s wife who became irritated by the fact that a lot of her friends were becoming vegans!
If being a self-righteous carnivore isn't a good reason to make a film, we don't know what is. What made it so bad is that the Italian film crew didn't understand much English and so there was poor communication throughout the making of this movie and yet its chaotic, shambolic mess of proceedings is strangely enjoyable and even sparked a documentary directed by the child star of the film, Michael Stephenson, called Best Worst Movie.