Top 10 Good Bad Movies
Top 10 Good Bad Movies

“I’m doing weapons training for this piece of shit, then I go to Romania to shoot another piece of shit, then come back to shoot my part in this piece of shit … What can I say? My wife loves shoes.”

– Ron Perlman

 
 

Bad films are made every year, usually in droves (the most pitiful of which are frequently released in January and February). Considering the cost of financing films, clearly even the bad ones are green-lit by executives and producers who genuinely feel that they’re worthwhile. There’s probably not a single movie out there that doesn’t have at least a few redeeming qualities (each of which are wholeheartedly subjective, but perhaps most important to the filmmakers themselves). What separates a nearly unwatchable flick from one that is entirely enjoyable – despite a critical consensus of abhorrent creative endowments – is “unintentional humor.” While there are those concoctions that revel in computer graphics advancements or unlikely casting conquests, the best bad movies are the ones with serious moments that are so insincere and so catastrophically awkward – quite by accident – that they become downright hilarious. And in the world of film criticism, viewing “good” bad movies can be just as rewarding as seeing revered works.

Self-aware or purposely ironic miscarriages of cinema are almost never done intentionally, so deliberating viability is an atypical notion; inevitably, filmmakers will continue to fail in bewitching new ways, giving birth to further hordes of terrible yet altogether amusing entities. In fact, when movies are manufactured with a conscientious thought toward premeditated deficiency, they usually fall flat, quickly exposed by discerning fans for their pretentious endeavors. Like cultivated masterpieces, it usually takes a bit of luck to wind up with something really special. And when that happens, audiences will continue to recognize and appreciate those projects that are so bad … they’re good!

 

10. Squirm (1976)

Copyrighted in 1976 by The Squirm Company, incorporated specifically to release this oft forgotten gem of dismal moviemaking, “Squirm” is a delightfully cheesy fright fest. It features some classically ridiculous moments, such as worms slowly dripping from a shower-head, which fill up a bathtub (there are no less than three shower scenes stuffed into this randomly exploitive nonsense), and a man whose face is consumed by carnivorous bloodworms. A bus driver bit-part is, curiously, the most convincingly acted role in the entire film; the rest is all sorts of ludicrous dialogue and clumsy exchanges.

 

9. Rover Dangerfield (1991)

Who wouldn’t want to see Rodney Dangerfield as an animated dog? And a Vegas dog at that, chasing literal tails and reclining alongside his owner, a busty showgirl (in an uncomfortably strange way, he’s anthropomorphized to such a human degree that he’s a better match for his human owner than the female farm dog he eventually woos). The film is also packed with innuendo (since it’s not as blatantly adult as “Fritz the Cat”), a few songs (including the infamous “I’ll Never Do It on a Christmas Tree”), and Dangerfield being Dangerfield, making no effort to hide behind an animated dog face.

 

8. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992)

From Roger Spottiswoode, the man who wrote “48 Hrs.” and who would eventually helm a James Bond film, comes this mess of an action comedy that frequently features the diminutive Estelle Getty (of “The Golden Girls” fame) toting a hefty hand-cannon. She’s a nice contrast for Sylvester Stallone, except that essentially everyone is comic relief. There are no straight players here, even when the elderly woman shares the muscleman’s bedwetting stories. And Stallone himself wasn’t too generous in retrospect, exclaiming, “If you ever want someone to confess to murder, just make him or her sit through that film. They will confess to anything after 15 minutes.”

 

7. Ticks (1994)

“Ticks” (aka “Infested,” “Parasites,” and “C2”) culminates in Alfonso Ribeiro (of “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” fame) literally bursting apart as a colossal arachnid emerges from inside his blood-drained body. That, of course, is redemptive all on its own. But the film also features a young Seth Green, evil marijuana growers, and softball-sized ticks scurrying around like tiny tap-dancers.

 

6. Shark Attack 3: Megalodon (2002)

Whereas the “Sharknado” movies aren’t actually trying to be sci-fi/monster spectacles, “Shark Attack 3: Megalodon” is earnestly attempting to go toe-to-toe with “Jaws.” Thankfully, it fails so spectacularly that audiences will be forever furnished with this gem of hilarious awfulness. The shark continually changes sizes, which no one seems to notice, while girls in bikinis tend to lure the cinematographer away from the focal point of the scenes. But nothing is more riotous than some unusually crass phrases that star John Barrowman utters to his leading lady, Jenny McShane, in an attempt to bolster emotions – which were never meant to make it into the final product (but they did just the same). This “dialogue” must be heard to be believed.

 

5. The Pit (1981)

“The Pit” stars a preteen boy whose only friends are a frog and a teddy bear – who talks to him. And that teddy bear is a pervert, as it persuades him into spying on his sexy, sporadically undressed babysitter. At other times, it goads him into leading unwitting victims into a hole in the woods, filled with ravenous beasts. A coming-of-age tale blended with dependable monster movie gimmicks, “The Pit” was far, far ahead of an oddly comparable picture with those same themes, reversed for girls: “Jennifer’s Body.”

 

4. Love Potion No. 9 (1992)

“Love Potion No. 9” could have been a dark, depraved bit of gratuitous exploitation, rather than a funny, flirty, romantic comedy. It’s a touch severe at times, considering the potion (which is actually No. 8) at its heart allows for some unethical activities, such as visiting virtually every occupant of a sorority for the horizontal mambo, but it’s still an amusing effort – and one of the few feature films inspired by a song. Plus, it stars none other than a young Sandra Bullock, before she would become Stallone’s demolition woman or Keanu Reeve’s alternative speed.

 

3. The Evil Dead (1981)

On a more accomplished note, “The Evil Dead,” Sam Raimi’s enduring cult classic and original “video nasty” is an authentically horrifying film – occasionally soured by abominable acting. Half of it works as a truly unnerving, scary movie, flourished with gore and otherworldly possessions; but the other 50% is laugh-out-loud silliness as a young Bruce Campbell tosses around bumbling glances and utters gawky verbiage. Regardless of its problems, “The Evil Dead” became so successful that it started a franchise full of cross-media development, including comics, books, action figures, and more, and is now considered exceedingly better than a bad movie. But its roots are firmly planted in low-budget, resource-challenged, scraped-together, continuity-senseless, pitifully-acted, amateur-moviemaking traditions.

 

2. Sheena: Queen of the Jungle (1984)

An obvious twist on Tarzan, Sheena uses animals as her weapons and ample cleavage as an inescapable distraction. When she’s not exposing herself to welcome yet laughable degrees, she’s engaged in lackluster adventures that can’t outpace her poor acting chops. Still, it’s amusing to see Tanya Roberts prior to becoming a Bond girl – and shortly after her Playboy stint to promote the equally silly “The Beastmaster.”

 

1. Terminal Velocity (1994)

While many might put “The Room” (2003) or “Face/Off” (1997) or “The Wicker Man” (2006) in the top spot, few films are as entertainingly atrocious as “Terminal Velocity.” Starring Charlie Sheen as a daredevil-skydiver-cum-unwitting-action-hero, who, without any prior training, manages to absorb a significant amount of physical abuse at the hands of waves of henchmen and assassins, the plot isn’t even about saving the world. Instead, it’s about stopping the smuggling of Russian gold. Who cares? Well, basically no one, as Sheen is more concerned with landing one-liners and looking cool, which makes this deliriously bad actioner just that much better.

 

Honorable mentions: “Jake Speed,” “Let It Ride,” and “Thursday.”

 

– Mike Massie