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The 20 Worst Movies Ever Made

06 October 2015 | Features, Film Lists | by Ian Watson

worst movies ever

“Not funny enough, or dramatic enough, or sexy enough, or bad enough, to qualify as entertainment in any category.”

That’s Leonard Maltin’s verdict on Striptease (1996), a Demi Moore vehicle that proves not all bad movies are uproarious fun. Anyone who enjoyed Plan 9 From Outer Space or Troll 2 would go out of their minds if locked in a cinema during a screening of this turkey.

Maltin’s words also serve as a good definition of what makes a picture truly bad as opposed to enjoyably bad. Plan 9 may be a failure on every conceivable level, but it fails upwards (so to speak), whereas Moore’s film is so flat and forced you’ll check your watch every two minutes.

Tragically for lovers of good bad movies, the latter trend is now standard at the multiplex. Jack & Jill, Ouija and A Haunted House 2 weren’t just bad, they didn’t even have the decency to amuse, intentionally or otherwise. Everything is subjective, of course, but any viewer who cares to argue the merits of the following clearly has no love for their fellow audience members.

 

20. Leonard Part 6 (1987)

LEONARD PART 6, Bill Cosby, 1987. ©Columbia Pictures

Lots of money, talent and product placements for Coca Cola went into Leonard Part 6, and the film certainly isn’t lacking for ideas or set pieces – they’re just not very good ideas or very clever set pieces.

Bill Cosby is spy-turned-restauranteur Leonard Parker, who’s brought out of retirement to track down a “vegetarian and former ecologist” with a formula for controlling the minds of various creatures. Said formula turns lobsters, frogs and gophers into crazed killers capable of throwing cars through the air, and only Cosby can save the day with his underarm rocket launcher and flying ostrich.

Which might sound like goofy fun, and in the hands of Barry Sonnenfeld it could’ve been another Men In Black, but every single joke lands with a thud. If you didn’t think Wild Wild West had enough half-baked ideas, you might enjoy it.

 

19. The Creeping Terror (1964)

the-creeping-terror

Written by the director of a 3D softcore porno, directed by a conman and starring its own investors, this creature feature has little enough going for it even before the ‘monster’ appears on screen. Described by Harry and Michael Medved as “a man-eating carpet from outer space”, our antagonist is just that – a carpet draped over several students, whose feet we can see at the bottom of the screen.

The opening sequence sets the tone: bad acting, bad lighting and bad cinematography topped off with mismatched stock-footage and stale narration. Director Art J. Nelson (who also plays the lead under the alias “Vic Savage”) either shot the picture without sound or lost the soundtrack in post-production; either way, he brought in a local newsreader to narrate the picture, leading to several scenes where conversations between characters are paraphrased in voice-over.

Any movie where a girl wears a bikini for a picnic in the woods isn’t aiming for High Art, but that doesn’t excuse the level of technical incompetence on display here. Along with all the visible ropes, wires and crewmembers, we’re also treated to the sight of the cameraman’s cigarette smoke drifting into shot following an onscreen death, making you wonder what Nelson actually did.

 

18. An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (1998)

An Alan Smithee Film Burn Hollywood Burn (1998)

While Flashdance, Jagged Edge and Basic Instinct made Joe Eszterhas notorious, Sliver, Jade and Showgirls turned him into a joke, so Burn Hollywood Burn was the screenwriter’s attempt to bite the hand that fed him, an ‘insider’ satire from the man most qualified to write it. It should’ve been brilliant. It’s not.

Endorsed by Roger Ebert as “a spectacularly bad film – incompetent, unfunny, ill-conceived, badly executed, lamely written and acted by people who look trapped in the headlights”, Burn centres on Trio, a $200 million cop movie whose director, Alan Smithee (Eric Idle), would rather steal the negative and hold it to ransom than attach his name to it. You see, he can’t adopt a pseudonym because the name used by the Director’s Guild when a filmmaker refuses credit is….Alan Smithee!

In fact, so desperate was Burn’s director, Arthur Hiller, not to be associated with this misfire that he took the Smithee pseudonym, making An Alan Smithee Film a true Alan Smithee film. No, really, this is the funniest ‘joke’ in the movie.

Shot as a pseudo-documentary, this might’ve worked had it eschewed cheap gags in order to build a credible story, but not only is Eszterhas only interested in sophomoric puns, the cast overplay at every available opportunity. When a picture’s comedic heavyweights include Robert Evans, Sylvester Stallone and Ryan O’Neal, you know you’re in trouble.

 

17. Blackenstein (1973)

Blackenstein (1973)

Following Blacula and Dr Black Mr Hyde, another public domain horror title gets the Blaxploitation treatment, only this time the results are much less interesting.

Dr Stein, an evil genius who has “just won the Noble Prize for solving the DNA genetic code”, is puttering around his lab when a former student arrives with some news – her boyfriend Eddie, who lost his arms and legs in Vietnam, is coming home. Knowing that the Doc is an expert at limb reattachment, she requests his help, and you know what that means.

Don’t get excited, because half the movie is over before Eddie gets off his slab and begins lumbering about, punishing those that tormented him. In fact, there’s no reason to bother at all with this time waster, which looks cheap, is full of uninteresting characters and worst of all, doesn’t have the decency to be funny.

 

16. The Beast Of Yucca Flats (1961)

The Beast Of Yucca Flats

A filmmaker with such appalling taste that he allowed John Carradine to sing the theme song to one of his movies, Coleman Francis achieved a dubious honour – each of the 3 films he directed was parodied on Mystery Science Theatre 3000.

Francis’s debut feature, The Beast Of Yucca Flats, was shot MOS (“Mit Out Sound”) and dubbed in post-production, but instead of bringing in actors to dub in lines, Francis narrates the entire picture in deadpan style, and the results are at best mystifying. The “plot” revolves around a “noted scientist” (played by Swedish wrestler Tor Johnson) wandering onto a nuclear testing ground.

Francis’s debut feature, The Beast Of Yucca Flats, revolves around a “noted scientist” (played by Swedish wrestler Tor Johnson) who transforms into the eponymous monster after stumbling onto a nuclear testing ground. Which might’ve made for an entertaining B-movie if only Francis hadn’t decided to shoot the film MOS (“Mit Out Sound”) and dub it in post-production.

Instead of hiring actors to dub in lines, Francis narrates the picture in deadpan style, and the results are at best mystifying. As the police close in on Johnson, Francis says, “Find the beast and kill him. Kill or be killed! Man’s inhumanity to man!” When characters are shown puzzling over the beast’s disappearance, Francis says, “Flag on the Moon. How did it get there?” You can only scratch your head in wonder.

 

15. Eegah! (1963)

Eegah! (1963)

Reasoning that giants must exist because “the Bible says so”, a trio of idiots search for them in California’s Bronson Canyon and immediately encounter 7 foot 2 inch Richard Kiel who, clad in a loincloth and hilarious fake beard, looks considerably less menacing than he did in The Spy Who Loved Me.

Anyway, Kiel abducts a young girl and introduces her to his “family” (a collection of corpses she greets one by one with “nice to meet you”), then she introduces him to a razor and shaving foam before being rescued by her boyfriend. This doesn’t sit well with Kiel, who vows to get her back while screaming the one word he speaks during the film: “Eegah!”

Producer-director-actor Arch Hall Snr reportedly came up with the concept after meeting Kiel, cast his secretary as the female lead and attempted to create an Elvis-like persona for his son, hence the bizarre song I Love You Vicky – which is sung to a girl named Roxy. Incredibly, Eegah! Became a Drive-in hit, earning back its $15,000 budget at a single screening. “It was always sort of a subject of laughter,” Hall said, years later, “that the damn thing did so well.”

 

 

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  • DesertSkyFan

    well some of these were made to be bad. i mean Birdemic wasn’t exactly trying to be a good movie. i don’t count disposable b-movies in my worst of lists. yea Howard the Duck is one of the worst films ever made.

  • Cristian Muñoz Levill

    The Room, Plan 9 from the outer space, 9 songs, Batman and Robin, anything form Michael Bay or Adam Sandler (except The Rock and Punch drunk love, of course), etc.

    • Snoopy – Your Friendly Neighbo

      The Room is one of those movies that if you watch it with an audience at a screening, it becomes hilariously unintentional black comedy, but on it’s own, it’s just a shitty, badly CGIed (if you count those terrible rooftop scenes) boring softcore melodrama. I didn’t really learn to love that film until I watched it as a Rifftrax. Same can’t be said for Troll 2. That movie is just…brilliantly bad.

    • Robert Karabetian

      The room was a fine movie

  • Pete Clark

    Dante’s Peak. It hits maximum ridiculous when the grandmother jumps into the lake of acid.

    • Snoopy – Your Friendly Neighbo

      I love that movie. Mainly because it’s so ridiculous. That whole scene is so stupid, especially with the Grandma dying in the lake of acid for no reason (and the heroic music that plays as she does)

  • Berfie

    #20 – Columbia Studios did not own Coca-Cola.Coca-Cola owned Columbia Studios.

    #18 – Ebert’s condemnation of this film is hardly an endorsement.

    #14 – The writer still doesn’t know the definition of ‘endorsed’.

    #13 – #1 – Can’t be arsed to read this shite.

    • Harris K Telemacher

  • OK, I wouldn’t put Disaster Movie in the list considering that it’s not really a movie. It’s far worse than that. It’s not funny nor does it do anything to be entertaining. It’s just nothingness and lazy filmmaking at its worst although calling Friedberg and Seltzer filmmakers is actually insulting. Porno filmmakers have more imagination and actually put more effort into these bullshit movies.

    Howard the Duck isn’t that bad. There’s far more worse films that are made than this.

    • Les In Co

      For me the best part of Disaster Movie was seeing Kim Karsahian killed off

      • I think it would’ve been better if that really happened.

  • “Warrior Queen” (1987) with Sybil Danning. I took craps more watchable than that movie.

  • KeepinIt Real

    Where’s Avatar?

    • Shadowfax

      Exactly my thought !

    • Rich G

      AKA Dances with Smurfs or Smurfahontas

    • Pedro Enrique Casique Duran

      Avatar?

    • Wolfgang

      The fact that it’s plot has been done several times, doesn’t make it a bad film. It’s a regular

      • KeepinIt Real

        You’re right. There are plenty of films that have borrowed from prior material and have proved themselves worthy. Unfortunately, Avatar is definitely not one of them. Its poor distinction is the result of several missteps. Its plot, though, is still probably the foremost problem with the film altogether.

      • Medes

        Unobtanium, one dimensional characters and baddies who are just bad for the sake for no reason make a bad movie.

  • Paulo Carreira

    As i saw the title i immediately thought: “Birdemic” but i wasn’t expecting for it to actually be in the list. That’s hardly considered a movie xD

  • BSCC

    Wow. You didn’t mention MST3K on many movies that were on the show, but bring it up on movies that were not on the show. And no mention that nobody would have ever seen Manos without MST3k?

    Did you ever actually watch the show?

  • Dean Strohm

    just my opinion, but for me the worst movie of all time is 13 Seconds

  • Goran Mars

    Armageddon

  • Alkis3

    “Balls of Fury”?

  • Javiera

    where’s movie 43 ?

  • “Freddy Got Fingered”…hands down. I also loathed “Pearl Harbor”.

    • Good thing nobody likes you either. 😀

      • Um…random. But okay…

      • Um. Wow. That really hurts my feelings. I really thought that everyone loved me. Then I snapped back into reality and remembered that nobody really knows me. So actually I’m OK. Thanks for such a delightful reply though. I hope it made your day. 😀

  • Shadowfax

    Where is “2012” ? Worst movie I’ve ever seen..

  • Grace Skerp

    No Battlefield Earth?

    • Luka Mina

      Yeah! I know right? What about The Room? No offense but this list is a tad innaccurate…

  • Veronica Clarke

    ‘My favourite Martian’, ‘House of Long SHadows’, ‘The house that disappeared’, ‘The Ice Pirates’.

  • Jordynne Amethyst Rios

    How is Movie 43 NOT on here?

  • Rick Hoffman

    Not close. Where is ISHTAR???? Where is GIGLI Some good campy favs are panned here like Myra Breckenridge but nothing is worse then virtually anything in the Grind-house collection -6 discs of movies so bad its impossible to stay awake.

  • Rich G

    Gigli, Plan 9 from outer space

  • Pingback: The 20 Worst Movies Ever Made « Taste of Cinema | GoGoAnimes.com()

  • Rich G

    Gigli, Plan 9 from Outer Space, Pearl Harbour

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2z3GJiZqDCI

  • Pedro Enrique Casique Duran

    There’s a lot of bad movies… even more than ‘Striptease’ or ‘Catwoman’.. and you guys know it!

  • Anustatti

    Birdemic indeed almost made my eyeballs bleed. Even greater achievement than that of Troll 2, which was already bad enough.

    • Melissa Barbee

      At least Troll 2 is mildly entertaining and someone made some kind of effort. Birdemic is one of the most boring movies I’ve ever been tricked into viewing and tries WAY TOO HARD to be bad.

  • Les In Co

    The picture on the review of ‘Horror of Party Beach’ was NOT from ‘HoPB’

  • As

    Throw some Nicolas Cage movies in there like Bangkok Dangerous

  • Camilo

    Alone in the Dark is probably the worst I’ve ever seen… also, no Battlefield Earth?

  • Patrice Drapeau-Bisson

    Where is The Room?

  • acgogo

    Anyone who is a fan of “Myra Breckenridge”, the book would understandably be greatly disappointed in the movie. Like most of Gore Vidal’s fiction, it was considered un-filmable. But there is something so awful about the movie that almost keeps you from turning away. Talk about a trainwreck!

    I think it was secretly directed by Russ Meyer who, by the way, should be on this list. I give you: “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” and “Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill”

    • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

      Both of those films are technically adept, wittily written and vibrantly performed.

  • missannthrope

    Candy (1968) and Sextette (1978) really belong on this list. And as others have said, Gigli really belongs on this list.

  • Scott Plumer

    I live in Cleveland, and I remember how excited everyone was when Howard the Duck was coming out. Then people saw it…

  • Piquerish

    Now hold on. I absolutely INSIST that we make room for my all-time-highest-loathing-ever … GUMMO. Pyewwwww!

  • Gabriel Suki

    It speaks volumes on the depressingly stale, empty-calorie saturated generic pop-culture upbringing of the author of this winglessly flapping turkey of a bog… sorry… blog entry, that the only D-movie this Ian Watson seems to know and worship is Plan-9. He seems to have put a bit too much stock in the artifice of the “golden turkey award” so keenly described on it’s back cover. I stopped counting the references to it somewhere between the end of the first and beginning of the unnecessary, advert revenue driven need for a second page.

    As a side note, I wasn’t aware that these “connoisseurs” he rambles on about seem to spend so much time watching MST3K. While some of the movies on this list are certainly bad, none are anywhere near as bad as that mouldy barrel of out of date, forced jokes. Bad as in terrible. Gag voice-overs were tired and played out by the mid-70s for a reason. It’s a shame that the producer who exploited those clowns to revive his company’s back catalogue of vintage film stock wasn’t aware of this fact.

    Besides which; “Australia” is missing from this list. Now there’s a plonker. Someone wake Ian Watson and update his pop-culture credentials please.

  • Frankie

    Where is ” Junior”, ” Kindergarten Cop” and specially ” Jingle All the Way” with Arnold Schwazenegger? By far, my 3 worst films ever

  • Eduardo Rocha

    Transformers Saga

  • Vaz zy

    Locke.. The whole film Tom Hardy talking to himself.

  • afrangov

    Actually I think The Room is a pretty great film (in a weird way), so I’m glad it’s not on this list.

    Also, thankfully, I have only been tortured with just a couple of the titles in the list.

  • Will Wuorinen

    One word: Armageddon.

  • PB1978

    Battlefield Earth? The Room? Batman and Robin? 10,000 BC? These are all movies that deserve to be on this list.

  • lauramoreaux

    what about Huckabees ?

  • Abhishek Mondal

    I would add star wars a new hope

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    In my book the true worsts tend to be ones that have remained rather more obscure than any of these. Stuff like Night of Horror, Blood Lake, The Black Witch Project, Wrong Way and so forth, that are a real stretch even for anti-art enthusiasts that can take some surreal joy from say, Birdemic or The Room.

  • me

    hah, expected “Manos…” to be #1
    don’t think Howard the Duck was that bad. Or bad even.

  • Abhishek Mondal

    Why is star wars a new hope not here.

  • Zabriskie

    Atlantic Rim?

  • Gogzilla

    Robot Monster not on the list?

  • Athena Padgett

    Pretty much any Adam Sandler movie belongs on this list. But Plan 9 From Outer Space was genius. So bad I loved it.

    • Debb Morgan

      I like that one very much. As u said, so bad is good

  • Big Rigs, Limbo of the Lost

  • Freddie Trey McNabb

    Plan 9 from Outer Space, Batman and Robin, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter is Dead, Heaven’s Gate, Battlefield Earth, any move with Madonna, Pauly Shore, a plethora of slasher sequels, and Mark Wahlberg’s Planet of the Apes deserve to be in the worst twenty.

    • Debb Morgan

      Oh Lawrd, Pauly Shore XD

  • Sats Van Brand

    BVS

  • Joe Montoto

    Even as young as I was, I knew enough to walk out of SHEENA, QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE the second I heard Tanya Roberts stumble her way and mangle the line “I am Sheena. [unnecessary pause] Queen of the jungle!”

  • Allister Cooper

    Field of Honor.

  • David Mika Egede

    troll 2

  • Terek Brajan

    Showgirls, Pompeii….

  • Predrag Grujic

    How is catwomen not sexy enough?
    🙂

  • Edward Pickaxe

    Tehe, you forgot Son of The Mask.

  • Brian Gregory

    Battlefield Earth

  • Dawn Valley

    Manos is a “so bad it’s good” movie IMHO. I’ve even watched it without the robots!

  • Miguel Valdez-Lopez

    I’d add this one to the list:
    Autopsia de un muerto
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061372/reference

    So sad that it’s Basil Rathbone’s last film.

  • neshobanakni

    Striptease is worth watching if only for Robert Patrick’s hilarious performance. Demi Moore’s strip scenes are only icing on the cake.

  • No “The Departed”

  • Binuriki Cliean Jay

    Where is Southland tales?

  • Olivier Jaminon

    Beowulf ft Christophe Lambert was pure boring pain in the ass… Same with Matrix 2,3 or Cube 2 and Cube 0.

  • Uncle Benny

    How could you leave out “Robot Monster” by the immortal Phil Tucker? Ed Wood’s “Glen or Glenda?” and “Bride of the Monster?”

  • Jacob Kilgannon

    No Troll 2? Or Darktown?

  • sen sei

    Plan 9 from outer space?

  • sen sei

    Halley Berry in black leather works anytime.