Cinema has been one of humanity’s most outstanding artistic achievements. Despite being a relatively new medium, it has given some extraordinary jewels over the years that have redefined storytelling. Movies like The Godfather, Citizen Kane, Lawrence of Arabia, 12 Angry Men, and so many more consistently make lists of all-time greats. However, there’s another class of movies that are all great, albeit for vastly different reasons. These movies are bad, and by bad, I mean laughably bad. However, this distinction gives them the honor so few films manage to achieve, i.e., a cult status. Here are the best worst movies ever made that you should watch to learn how it takes talent to make the worst of the worst.
No list of worst movies ever may be complete without The Room. It is one of those few movies that has the ignominy of being comically bad. If that seems like an overstatement, it might surprise you even more to learn that it’s unofficially known as perhaps the best worst movie ever made. Its ensuing cultural impact can be gauged from the fact that The Room has inspired countless memes, parodies, and a separate Oscar-winning film starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, The Disaster Artist.
Ironically, this movie was both a critical and commercial success, further enriching The Room’s cult standing. Its problems are far too many to name. There is poorly written dialogue, abrupt editing, a nonsensical storyline, and half-baked acting across the board. However, all’s well that ends well. And in The Room’s case, while everyone may have had an idea of how poor the end product would be, few if any could have predicted the notoriety the movie has achieved since then.
Birdemic: Shock & Terror
I probably wouldn’t have included this movie in this list if I were writing this blog this time last year. However, for obvious reasons, stories about a worldwide pandemic seem to have gained renewed interest. Birdemic is arguably the wackiest one of them all. Birds all over the world have fallen victim to a mutation that makes them attack and kill humans. The problem soon escalates beyond control, with leading news channels labeling it a “birdemic” across the globe.
However, the movie’s claim to infamy doesn’t just stem from the story but its director, James Nguyen’s antics, while promoting the film too. He famously tried to promote the movie at Sundance. When he was rejected and denied entry, he chose to show the horror movie, yes, this is supposed to be a horror movie, at local bars. This move earned his film the sort of cult status that only a few such movies attain. The “success,” if you want to call it that, of the movie was enough for the director to return with a sequel in 2012, titled “Birdemic 2: The Resurrection”.
Remember how our parents taught us “violence is never the answer?” well, in the universe of Road House, violence is the only answer. The movie’s plotline is simple enough as it follows a disco bouncer with anger issues. While conventional wisdom would dictate he seek anger management, his friend circle surprisingly encourages his behavior. That wouldn’t itself be a deal-breaker if it weren’t for random explosions, cartoonish CGI, and perhaps the most unforgivable action sequence in film history that sees the main lead slap a guy’s throat out. Will Road House give you a headache? Possibly. Is it a movie that’ll leave you with a renewed appreciation for modern CGI and action movies? Most definitely.
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
There’s no paucity of Christmas movies. Of the hundreds of films available within the genre, there are some extraordinary ones like “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Elf,” and “Die Hard,” and some not-so-good ones like Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. If this is your first time hearing about this title, then yes, the movie’s plot is essentially what the title implies. For some bizarre reasons, a group of Martians kidnaps Santa Claus. Fearing that not having Santa Claus on Earth for Christmas could cause havoc worldwide, the governments of the world sanction a rescue mission…to be led by two children.
To its credit, the movie never pretends to be serious in its storytelling as the sets, costumes, and dialogue are meant to reiterate its comic setting. At just around 81 minutes, this is one movie you really must watch, even if it’s just about laughing at just how bad it is.
You might look at this title and think I’m being a little too harsh in including this movie in this list. After all, it was never meant for a theatrical release. However, the fact that it’s so monumentally absurd demands its inclusion on this list. Reefer Madness is a 1936 public service announcement movie against the dangers of marijuana.
Now, we might have the benefit of hindsight today, but any film that suggested inhaling marijuana leads to people developing an aggressive personality, which compels them to murder a family in cold blood and then frame another innocent of the crime, deserves all the ridicule it can get. There isn’t a single scene that isn’t filled with sheer absurdity that’ll make even the most straight-faced guy struggling to control their laughter. The best part about it? It’s now public domain, which means it’s on YouTube for free. I guess that sorts out your “what to watch tonight” problem.