I am a bad movie connoisseur. I’m not talking bad like “They paid too much for this to be that boring” bad, I’m talking bad bad, like really poor-quality filmmaking. I will watch any movie that either just totally fails or wanders into the “WTF?!” badlands. I will also watch almost any horror movie, which aids in this quest, because apparently everyone wants to make a horror movie and everyone thinks that when they do, it’s worth it to show everyone.
Plenty of people make lists of best-worst movies, but they include too many big-budget films that were just stupid. I’m glad “Thankskilling” is getting the credit it deserves for being terrible, so I won’t include it here. “Ishtar” is boring, not a flaming wreck of a failure. “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” is intentionally bad, so it doesn’t count (because it’s a success). You’d have to be high to actually enjoy “Turkish Star Wars” even though it is truly, truly awful. And “Manos: The Hands of Fate” is better with the “Mystery Science Theater 3000″ commentary, plus everyone already knows about it, so whatever.
Best Worst Everything: “Fantasy Mission Force”
This movie was my entry to bad movies back in high school. Other Class of ‘05-ers might have fond memories of watching, I don’t know, like, “Troy” or something. I was lucky enough to spend my adolescence hanging out with weird art kids, so I get nostalgic over this big ol’ hunk of what-the-fuck. Don’t be fooled by the way it’s billed — Jackie Chan is only in the movie for about five minutes. The rumor goes that he did it as a favor to the director for getting him out of trouble with the mob. The premise is that during World War II, four Western generals — including Abraham Lincoln (yeah, the one who died in 1865) — were kidnapped by the Japanese and had to be rescued by, of course, a rag-tag band of outlaws, one of whom is named Grease Lightning. There are bizarre musical numbers, hopping vampires, and flying cannibal Amazon women. The dubbing is, of course, horrible, but what really makes this film great is the weird editing choices — dialogue gets cut off mid-sentence, and the movie ends by freezing a shot while a car speeding away is only partway off-screen. Oh, and bazookas. Bazookas also make this movie great.
Best Worst Horror Movie: “Rise of the Scarecrows”
You know “Rise of the Scarecrows” is going to be awesome because Geno McGahee wrote it, directed it, produced it, acted in it, and was a camera operator, too. The movie’s plot is exactly what you’d surmise from the title — killer scarecrows are stalking a town and killing people, and a group of guys tries to figure out how to stop it. There’s a scene that lasts for what feels like six hours in which an old dude dodders around his house painting killer scarecrows (“I paint what I see!” — SUBTLE), goes down to his darkened basement — and then comes up to dodder around for a few more minutes before he finally gets killed. There’s even a scene in which the protagonists are wandering around the forest, saying “What’s going on?!” and a magical black man pops out from behind a tree to tell them what’s going on, then basically walks off into the sunset.The whole thing appears to have been shot on hand-held camcorders. If you can get a copy of it (Netflix has discs of it but it’s not streaming), you need to see it.
Best Worst Acting: “They Live”
Look, I know that “They Live” is a great movie. It’s just that it’s a great movie other than Rowdy Roddy Piper’s acting. Like, great premise, good direction, OK script, and then Rowdy Roddy Piper. Oh, and also the most ridiculous, unnecessarily long fight scene of all time, which beyond being over-acted and paced like an asshole was initiated because Keith David’s character refused to put on a pair of sunglasses.
Best Worst Remake: “The Wicker Man” (2006)
I was promised excellence in bad filmmaking with this movie and I was not let down. Here’s my summary of the 2006 remake of “The Wicker Man”: Groggy, delusional man trespasses on a private island, becomes enraged by the practice of polytheism, runs around harassing children and punching women in the face. This is like the nightmare scenario of anti-feminists and trolls. If feminists are going to embrace ironic misandry, we need to use more material from “The Wicker Man” remake. “The drone must die! The drone must die!” Anyway, this film is made great-awful both by the very presence of Nicolas Cage (name ONE truly good Nicolas Cage movie) and by the completely inconsistent plot and character motivations. It only resembles the original in that a guy gets burned to death in a giant wicker effigy at the end.
Best Worst Rom-Com: “Computer Beach Party”
As far as I can tell, this movie is about a bunch of computer-enthusiast dickheads who don’t understand property law and hate beach safety (seriously, their big gripe is the fact that there are lifeguard stands going up on the beach). It’s bad for a lot of the same production reasons that “Fantasy Mission Force” is bad — bad dubbing (it was originally in English and is dubbed … in English) and weird editing that makes it seem like the actors didn’t quite know what exactly was expected of them. The protagonist’s love interest appears to be a blonde zombie. Oh, and how’s this for dialogue? “Could you get me some water?” “Yeah.” (Pause.) “How are you doing?” “Fine.” “You want some water?” “Yeah.” “Water is inside.” I’m not even sure my copy of this movie is legit, not least of all because the menu screen is just a blue screen with only the option to play the movie, and the back of it says “This is a nice VHS transfer, recorded to DVD-R.” I don’t know who made money on my purchase, all I know is that I lost money.
What are your favorite hilariously terrible movies? Share in the comments! Either I have watched them already, or I will — promise.