Now, when I say awful, this is what I mean: Awful is when a movie tries to be good and successful and everything else that the crackpot director thinks it’s supposed to be but instead comes out just horrible. Sometimes so horrible that you have to wonder why the guys in the editing room didn’t just set the film to flame.
A lot of the awful movies out there do a great job of embracing their awfulness. Numbers 1 and 2 on my list are particularly good just because they don’t take themselves seriously at all. I did not include Monty Python because, awful as it may be, it was entirely intentional. So here we go, Greg’s top 5 favorite awful movies of all time.
1. Army of Darkness.
What could be better than Bruce Campbell thrown into the ancient and undefined past where horrors encroach on civilization, hands can be replaced with chainsaws, and boom-sticks have unlimited ammo? Add to that the rubbery shaking of plastic skeletons and you’ve got a recipe for what I consider to be the greatest horror film ever made. It’s as if Sam Raimi and his typical cohorts said “Eh. Let’s just be silly,” and the Evil Dead trilogy began.
Army of Darkness is the continuing adventures of Ash, played by Bruce Campbell. He ends up in mideaval times with his chainsaw, shotgun, and car. The humans are vastly outnumbered by the demonic hordes, aptly called “Deadites.” Luckily, with Ash’s 20th century know-how and his massively high pain-threshold, they’ve got a chance.
I think my favorite thing about this movie is all the great lines from Ash. “Gimmie some sugar, baby.” “Baby, you got real ugly.” and his classic slaughtering of the essential words of power (remarkably uttered a thousand years later in the film “The Day the Earth Stood Still). Klatuu, Barada… uh…
With self-indulgent amounts of gore and explosions, armies of people in zombie suits, and poorly animated living props, this movie is my personal favorite Awful Movie. You will find reference to this movie in pop culture for the rest of your life. Make this one first on your list.
This is what happens when somebody lets Weird Al do a movie.
And, yes, I know it’s supposed to be stupid. The reason UHF made it on the list is because it was meant to be a big hit. The problem was It came out on the same week of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Not a good move.
UHF is one of the most satisfyingly hilarious movies ever done. And it is dumb to the point of awful on occasion, but that’s either intended or due to lack of funding. The only part of the movie I don’t like is the self-indulgent dream sequence where the entirety of the “Beverly Hillbillies” music video is shown. (Although in 89, when the movie came out, it was pretty cool computer animation.)
Favorite portions include the inept shop teacher, Conan the Librarian, drinking from the fire hose, and without doubt, teaching poodles to fly.
3. Dungeons and Dragons.
I think what happened was that some bright executive somewhere had a dark and disturbing secret. He had grown up a D&D player. And in the late 90’s and early 2000’s when it looked like comic-book, fantasy, and science fiction movies were a sure-thing this guy went into his closet, dusted of an old quest he had written, and turned it into a truly awful. Awful. movie.
I admit I watched it in the theaters. The previews had been dragony enough to seduce me and other semi-nerds to the theater.
Yes, we were the only ones in it.
And that sign, like lips stained with blue, should have served as a warning. Yet we were optimistic. However, about 15 minutes into the movie even the die-hard gamers were heckling the movie in fine MST3K fashion.
Bad acting, bad story, plot holes, poor dialogue, and a wayan all serve to make this movie just horrible – and ripe for our unbridled commentary.
This is a great movie to watch in groups of geeks. The downside is that you will never trust Jeremy Irons again. Ever.
4. Plan 9 from Outer Space.
This is pretty much a given. Not only is it Awful, but it’s been voted one of the 2 worst movies ever made (ranking varies depending on who you ask – sometimes “Manos: Hands of Fate” wins). What makes it really good is watching “Ed Wood” sometime soon after you watch this horror of horrors. Suddenly the stuff that made you say “What the crap?” makes sense in a sad kind of way.
5. Mystery Science Theater #301: Cave Dwellers.
Have you seen this? Of all the awful movies ever watched by the cast of MST3K this is, by far, the worst ever. From hang-gliding warriors to some of the most awkward dialogue ever acted out this movie is so awful you almost won’t be able to stand it. The only reason I was able to handle the movie is thanks to a guy and two muppets who were sitting at the bottom of the screen moaning about it with me.
My favorite part is the end. The expression on the faces of the actor and muppets when the show is finally over is a perfect match for my own. And as you walk away, you realize there is 2 hours of your life that you will never, ever, get some kind of compensation for.
The Labyrinth, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Wing Commander, Hackers, Star Trek I.
Predictions for future awful movies that everybody will need to watch:
Fantastic 4, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, X-men 3 and other poorly done modern superhero / comic book movies.
Anything that relies on a lot of computer animation: ID4, LoTR, Matrix,
And anything that has a muppet in it.
Agree, disagree, etc? Please comment.