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Most Unintentionally Funny Movies?

The other night I was flipping channels very late and I came across Gymkata on one of the many movie channels. For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s one of the most awesomely bad movies ever made. It stars Olympic gymnast Kurt Thomas as a gymnast/karate master who travels to a vaguely Asian-looking country called Parmistan to fight in a tournament — to the death, of course — to discover what became of his father, who had fought in the same tournament years earlier. Oh, and to mysteriously pave the way for the placement of a missile defense system in that country.

During that tournament, the contestants have to travel through a walled city where Parmistan has been sending its criminally insane people for centuries, so it’s full of people who walk around like zombies and try to kill you with pitchforks and other beastly implements. My favorite scene in the movie is when Thomas is being chased by dozens of these horrible zombie loonies and suddenly stumbles upon a pommel horse — seriously, a pommel horse — in the town square. He shows his flawless Olympic form, scissor kicking all the bad guys as they, conveniently, attack him one at a time and manage never to hit any of his limbs with the razor sharp swords and knives they’re carrying. The best part is when he jumps down on the ground, runs to the pommel horse and does a perfect back flip back to the same spot he was standing on before making that move, for no apparent reason whatsoever. Here’s the video of that scene:

There are lots of bad movies that are essentially unwatchable — see almost anything starring a former SNL cast member not named Mike Myers, John Belushi or Dan Aykroyd (and then only if he’s with someone much funnier; when he tries to carry a movie, you end up with Dr. Detroit). But some movies are so terrible that they become entertaining in an entirely ironic way.

Another movie like that is The Last Dragon, another martial arts action movie that actually intends to be funny at times, but is much funnier when it’s trying not to be. It’s the story of a black karate master named Bruce Leroy, who has to fight the “shogun of Harlem” named Sho-Nuff. It’s breathtakingly bad, made even worse by the horrible music and the inevitable flashbacks to his sensei giving him sage advice. Here’s the climactic fight scene:

What movies would you nominate for the title of the most unintentionally funny movie?

Comments

  1. says

    Plan 9 From Outer Space of course.

    Also “Peace is Our Profession” – a compilation of 4 Lassie TV episodes.

    “In this film, the test shot of a Minuteman missile is delayed by an errant snow goose. The Strategic Air Command also encounters problems with a diabetic poodle. As usual, Lassie saves the day.”

  2. says

    Any Hallmark movie which isn’t an adaption of a classic novel of some sort. Supernova is probably the worst as the script seems to forget that the scientists can’t save anyone as they can’t do shit about the sun, only accurately predict whether it will kill anyone. Also, it was clearly given a list-minute rewrite to change the setting from the US to Australia, with no adjustments made for the fact Australia has no president or death penalty. Add a serial killer plot that has nothing to do with the sun plot, some subtle racism and the fact that most of the actors seem to be unsure what accent they are supposed to do and you have the makings of a camp classic.

  3. says

    “Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared Syn” It’s on Netflix streaming right now I believe. It is the worst film I ever paid money to see. Then again, it was running against “Jaws 3: in 3D” so it could easily have been that movie instead. Both unintentionally hilarious.

  4. slc1 says

    The consensus over at IMDB (where it got a 4.0 rating) is that the movie is best described as so bad it’s good.

  5. says

    Tommy Wiseau’s bizarre masterpiece “The Room”. What is supposed to be a tense, tearjerker drama about a man who is betrayed by his fiancee and best friend turns into…The Room. It’s like an alien who who knew what human emotions were but didn’t understand them tried to make a movie. With three sex scenes in the first half hour, one of which is clearly just the first sex scene with slightly different camera angles thrown in.

    Also, Tommy Wiseau (the writer/director/producer/star)seems to have over half his dialogue redone in post production. This applies to the special features as well as the movie, where he’s looped while just sitting in a chair talking to the camera. It. Is. Glorious.

  6. brucegee1962 says

    OK, perhaps I’m a terrible person, but I remember really liking “The Last Dragon” back in college. I think the coolest thing that it did deliberately was making everyone’s racial identity entirely a matter of choice, not something you’re born with. So the hero is black, but walks around in a Chinese outfit and a coolie hat — but when he goes to Chinatown, all the guys there are breakdancing. His father runs a an Italian restaurant (“Move-a your feets-a to Papa Green’s Pizza.” How the heck does something like that lie around in my memory for 25+ years?)

    Yeah, the martial arts was dumb and formulaic, but that one part of the movie stuck with me as something I hadn’t seen before — an interesting world to live in.

  7. dean says

    The most recent Indiana Jones movie has to be included.

    Would Attack of the Killer Tomatoes qualify?

    On the intentionally so bad it is great end: amazon women on the moon

  8. jeremydiamond says

    I love The Room, but I my favorite is Troll 2. Always.

    Honorable mention to Icebreaker, which is a must-see if you like to ski or snowboard. Some absolutely immortal sequences and lines in that one.

  9. coragyps says

    Gymkata sounds like the big-screen cousin of Walker, Texas Ranger.

    Indiana Jones, at least, knew how to deal with martial artists….

  10. says

    I rather “enjoyed” the two 10.5 movies, where gigantic earthquakes result in lots of camera shaking and hilarious screaming, and everyone speaks in brainless cliches. In the first one, the magnitude of the disaster necessitates a declaration of “marshal” law, and the injured governor is informed that she has received a “concussion to the head.” They need to set off a series of underground nuclear blasts to stop the earthquakes from destroying the west coast, and for some reason the director of FEMA supervises the drilling. Of course one of the warheads fails to detonate remotely and must be set off manually; fortunately, the FEMA director falls in one of the holes and gets pinned next to the bomb, so he sacrifices himself. Heckuva job, Brownie.
    In the sequel, the discredited scientist that everyone laughed at turns out to be right, and his theory of spreading continents reaching their maximum separation and bouncing back towards each other becomes a reality, which results in North America splitting down the middle. I forget how they stop it; I guess my attention waned at some point.

  11. schism says

    Prayer of the Rollerboys. Take Mad Max, replace Mel Gibson with Corey Haim, replace the gangs with a bunch of douchey frat boys on roller skates, and replace the just-shy-of-apocalyptic setting with a quarter-assed Blade Runner rip-off.

    It’s freaking epic.

  12. Jeremy Shaffer says

    Since some of the others I’d mention already have been I’ll go with Streets of Fire. It’s am awesome rock opera that is set in either the not too distant future or the 1950’s, take your pick.

  13. otrame says

    Megaforce.

    Barry Bostwick in a pair of pants so tight that he could not walk in them and {takes deep shuddering breath} a hair band. His name is Ace Hunter.

    It’s not just unintentionally funny. That is the trap. You laugh. You keep watching because it is so, so funny. Slowly, so slowly that you hardly notice, your brain begins to melt.

    Toxic dumb. Toxic, poisonous dumb.

    People who watch the whole thing are never the same. They realize that someone PAID MONEY for the script and the director and the actors. Money.

    All efforts to lead a normal, productive life seem so futile after that.

    There are support groups.

  14. Arkady says

    Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, a 60’s attempt to add science fiction to an xmas film. It appears to be out of copyright I think, the full movie is here on Youtube (and you can also watch the MST3K version too): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6C5WwammH90

    Plotwise it appears to have been remade into an even worse film called ‘Mars Needs Moms’…

  15. Rip Steakface says

    @29 There is no funny to be found in that film. Only pain.

    I third The Room. “Oh hai Denny.”

  16. drr1 says

    How about Lone Wolf McQuade, a timeless classic from everyone’s favorite deep-thinker, Chuck Norris. In it, Norris manages to exploit every racial and gender stereotype known, while simultaneously playing on every cliched Hollywood character ever written for a 20th century karate tough-guy movie. And he does it all while maintaining that unique brand of stupid that makes you say “Ah, yes, Chuck Norris.” Guaranteed you’ll be laughing within 10 minutes, or your money back.

  17. martinc says

    I’d like to nominate Boxing Helena, a love story about a man who loves a woman so much that he chops off her arms and legs and keeps the rest of her in a box. Sherilynn Fenn played the lead, after Kim Basinger contracted to do it and then refused (presumably after belatedly reading the plot synopsis). The movie tanked; the producers sued Basinger and won.

    I’d also like to mention Reindeer Games, a pointlessly violent flick (opening scene: Santa Clauses being machine-gunned … in slow motion) which is so stupidly plotted that at the end, one of the characters Batmanesquely holds a gun on the hero and carefully explains what happened throughout the whole movie … probably because the producers realized that no-one in the audience would have a clue otherwise.

  18. mikeym says

    I never saw Dolemite!, but, based on this review at Cracked.com, it’s gotta be in the running:

    While some cinematic experiments have been recorded in one take, Dolemite was written and produced in that take too. People arrive on screen with absolutely no idea of what they’re supposed to be doing, many looking like the concept of “pretending to be someone else” is being explained off screen in sign language several seconds after the camera has started rolling. This is the only way to explain why a “Fuck you”/”No, Fuck YOU” exchange can take upwards of 20 seconds.

  19. says

    “Buckaroo Banzai”
    (I still have my original VHS tape of it)

    “The Last Dragon” wasn’t bad!! It was awesome! There’s a scene in it where Vanity smiles, and, uh, it’s like a great big metaphor for something wonderful. And the amazing performance by “Kiss My Converse!” Sho’Nuff! Uh. Some Dum Goy. Urr… Um. OK, yeah, it was bad.

    Also “Big Trouble in Little China” was pretty bad in a good way.

  20. says

    otrame “Megaforce.”
    You suck and your taste also sucks. Megaforce was the single most awesome movie ever, if “ever” is defined as “first saw it on TV on a Saturday afternoon in 1984 when you were a young old boy and stuck on the couch, feverish with a feverish fever”.

  21. says

    OT but related, this is perhaps the creepiest moment in major-studio, movie history.

    In a scene from the satirical send-up of 60s pop culture, Lord Love a Duck (1966), a high school girl played by Tuesday Weld goes shopping with her father (Max Showalter). Weld is trying on sweaters and, well, just watch.

  22. otrame says

    Modusoperandi,

    You poor thing. Don’t you know it was the movie that MADE your feverish fever so feverish? Don’t you understand that every single bad thing that has ever happened to you since is because you watched that movie?

    *sigh

    If you want to talk about bad taste, who the hell thinks Big Trouble in Little China and Buckaroo Banzai are bad movies?

    *glares over at Marcus Ranum and begins to re-think her respect for him.

    There is a BIG different between “deliberately camp” and “bad”, Marcus. Gymkata was bad. Big Trouble in Little China was camp. Megaforce created an entire new level of bad. Go on and watch it. I dare you.

    But I also warn you. A friend of my son’s was lying on my floor when I came downstairs one morning. He looked up at me and said, “You know that movie you ran upstairs to avoid watching last night?” I said, yeah. “I watched the whole thing.” He paused then. “I think I hurt myself.” (True story. Seriously, true story)

  23. chrislu says

    ANACONDA!!! A great formula movie. The white guy dies first. The black guy gets to live. J Lo is minimally dressed in Amazonia which teems with blood sucking fauna. John Voigt’s mad priest is art for the ages. And yes, the snake rocks.

  24. says

    There was also a really horrible martial arts movie called “Ninja Mission” – which featured German ninjas. Um, because. I barely remember it because my friends and I were anoxic from laughing so hard. But there was a lot of “sneak up behind someone, draw your sword, scream HAIIIII!!!! fail to achieve the element of surprise” kind of stuff.

  25. unbound says

    I also vote for Buckaroo Banzai…I think they were trying to be serious. I disagree with Big Trouble in Little China…I think it was campy on purpose.

  26. says

    otrame “A friend of my son’s was lying on my floor when I came downstairs one morning. He looked up at me…”
    If he actually saw Megaforce he would be unable to speak, and, when attempting to communicate by writing, anything he wrote would reference gold and white motorcycles called ‘Delta MK 4 Megafighters’ that shot missiles and had rockets in the back and turned black at night and also flew.
    He was probably thinking he saw Megaforce when actually he saw Metalstorm (mentioned earlier), which totally sucked except for the guy with the metal arm and he was ugly and the metal arm extended and also it shot green goo and the goo was gross and it maked guys totally freak out and then it got tord off and he runned away and the good guy followed his goo trail and found his base and then they fighted and ohmygod these pixie sticks are awesome!

  27. says

    There is a BIG different between “deliberately camp” and “bad”

    And there’s a line so fine that it’s fractalspace, between them. I rate Buckaroo Banzai as bad because I was one of the kids handing out “Team Banzai” headbands at Balticon and Worldcon for the premiere and I know that they weren’t trying to make a bad or extremely campy movie. They were trying to hit the action-with-slight-elements-of-camp line and their grid coordinates were slightly off (all except John Lithgow, who landed right on target) So, yeah, I’m perhaps a bit more inclined to be hard on BB than maybe I should.

    “Big Trouble…” I also consider bad because they were intentionally trying to make it camp and hoping to get the same kind of “Escape From New York” amazingness and managed to land a bit too hard on the camp and not hard enough on the amazingness.

    Producing an intentionally campy movie is almost a guarantee that you’ll wind up with a bad movie, because it’s just so hard to deftly explore camp-space. I think it’s only reliable if you have Bruce Campbell in the cast.

  28. says

    The guys who did BB (I forget their names) were trying to do it big. They wanted to have sequels – which uncamps it a bit right there – and tie-ins to products and comic books. They spent a ton of money hyping it (god, remember that trailer?) and when they were doing the road-show they told us they were going to be releasing an album of music “by the hong kong cavaliers.” Ulp. In a lot of ways, I think they were way too far ahead of their times; nowadays with the merchandising tie-ins, action dolls, online franchising, etc, kids are used to that sort of thing. But with BB it fell on the floor and made a bizzare jello-like “thud.”

  29. says

    Oh, yeah, and let us not forget
    “The sword and the sorceror”

    Ripping people’s hearts out telekinetically? Babes in bodices who knee you in your steel codpiece? Trick swords with extension blades? Heroes swinging through stained glass windows to theme music by Wagner?

    I had a VHS of that one, too, but my tape player saved the universe by eating it and – strangely – nobody has brought it to video.

  30. otrame says

    Marcus,

    Hmmm. I always thought there was never a sequel because they couldn’t come up with a reason for the watermelon thing.

  31. sylwyn says

    How about ‘The Apple?’ An Adam and Eve allegory pitting disco and Dr. Boogaloo (the devil) verses the hippies and Mr. Topps (God). By the end of the movie Dr. Boogaloo has the Eve character bound by contract when Mr. Topps drives up in a gold Cadillac (parked 50 to 60 feet in the air), torches the contract with a wink and a smile and takes all of the hippies away with him in his car. Camp or not, I’ve been wanting to catch it on late night TV for a long while.

  32. says

    Marcus Ranum “The guys who did BB (I forget their names) were trying to do it big.”
    They might’ve. Fox didn’t. Headbands handed out at comic book conventions? Yes. TV advertisments? No. And it came out the same summer as Startrek III, Indiana Jones II and Ghostbusters.
    And also it’s awesome (which I didn’t find out until later). Unlike Temple of Doom, which my parents took me to instead of another movie which I wanted to go to. One about the conflict between Red Lectroids and Black Lectroids.

  33. leonardschneider says

    Oh, y’all playin’ in my ballpark now!

    First — “My God, Mike!” — the big news for all you MST3K fans: some dude managed to get a hold of the 16mm work prints of Manos: The Hands Of Fate — and is remastering them to DVD (Bluray), creating what will be the best, sharpest, unedited copy of Manos available. This is a labor of love on the gentleman’s part: click here for more info, some great HD stills from the movie, and [*kaff kaff, hint hint*] the opportunity to chuck a bit of money his way.
    For those of you who don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, just Google ‘Manos: The Hands Of Fate’ and do some reading.

    Hmm, as far as my own personal bad-movie favorites go…
    – There’s a cheesy biker/horror movie called ‘Werewolves on Wheels’ from 1971 which I consider required viewing, if you can find it. Despite the title, there’s only one werewolf, and even then they couldn’t afford the entire costume, so it’s really just a single guy in a dog mask riding a motorcycle.
    – The next film up is so obscure I shouldn’t mention it: ‘The Monster From Milpitas,’ which I found in the $2 bin at the Flying J truck stop on the Grapevine in Frazier Park. A stop-motion creature has sprung from the big landfill in Milpitas, CA, and is defeated by redneck high school kids (in 1973 Milpitas really was the sticks; the landfill was the only thing of note in town).
    – If the words “Coleman Francis” and “Tony Cardoza” appear, you’re in for a good time. ‘The Skydivers’ (both on its own and the MST3K version) is probably one of the best bad movies ever made. It contains the three motifs always present in any Francis/Cardoza production: coffee, cigarettes, and light aircraft… Plus a bonus: an appearance by rockabilly pioneer Jimmy Bryant, both live and as incidental music.

    I’m gonna back up those who say ‘Big Trouble In Little China’ is not a bad movie. Yeah it’s cheesy: it’s supposed to be; it’s a big goofy comic book of a movie with no other purpose than to be fun. No point in trying to read any deeper meaning into it, because there is none. Just watch the damn thing and enjoy yourself.

    And ‘Roadhouse’ really was a turd.

  34. gentlefish says

    Enter The Ninja is an absolutely fabulous piece of trash. Starring Franco Nero as an American ninja who happens to somehow be better than all of the Japanese ones.
    There are two particularly wonderful parts. He visits his friend whose wife is a teetotaller. After she tells him that she doesn’t drink, he remarks that it is good for the digestion. This one line of dialogue somehow convinces her that she should start drinking and she promptly pours herself about a pint of port.
    The second glorious moment is this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EvPvfVOUV8
    Best death scene ever.

  35. says

    Ooh, Megaforce. I actually have the soundtrack for that movie, believe it or not, because it was done by a band I actually liked back then, 707. If the movie is half as cheesy as the soundtrack, it must be epic. You could melt that album and make fondue.

  36. Akira MacKenzie says

    It contains the three motifs always present in any Francis/Cardoza production: coffee, cigarettes, and light aircraft…

    “Coffee? I like coffee.”

  37. slc1 says

    Re John Pieret @ #43

    Hey, Creature from the Black Lagoon was a pretty good flic. It got an 82% rating from Rotten Tomatoes and 6.9 from IMDB.

  38. says

    John Voigt’s mad priest is art for the ages.

    Well, yeah, … but back then we thought Jon Voight was acting. Who knew he was just being himself?

  39. caseloweraz says

    Most unintentionally funny movies? Well, let’s see.

    There’s The Wild, Wild World of Batwoman.

    There’s Hercules versus the Sons of the Sun, in which the redoubtable hero appears in Peru (I think) where, while the Sons menace someone he’s fond of high up in the Andes, Hercules for some reason is down on the shore of the Pacific. So there follows a five-minute dance number by the Sons, giving Herc time to race up the slope and challenge them.

    And there was one whose title I don’t know, in which Hercules (played here by Lou Ferrigno) battles the villain Science, a white-bearded old guy in a robe. At one point Science draws down the Moon to hit the Earth, and Hercules changes into King Kong to stop it.

    There are, of course, Robot Monster and Manos, the Hands of Fate. And how about Message from Space in which mystic liabi seeds recruit five people of Earth to join a battle against an evil would-be galactic overlord?

    I’ll second the nominations of Gymkhata and Metalstorm.

    But just for S&G I’d like to nominate one that means to be funny: A parody of Enter the Dragon called Kill and Kill Again.

  40. caseloweraz says

    How could I forget Battle Beneath the Earth, in which a detachment of the Red Chinese army tunnels under the Pacific basin using laser drilling machines in order to plant atomic bombs under U.S. military bases. A lone scientist and his son (?) manage to stop them, despite the hypno-fan wielded by the female leader of the detachment.

    * Mars Needs Women

    *Rocket to the Moon in which it apparently takes only four people to build a rocket capable of reaching our natural satellite. (And, when the government confiscates the ship the day before it’s to be launched, two escaped convicts become essential crew members for a midnight lift-off.)

    There are so many titles…

  41. says

    **Bookmarked for future reference.**

    Anyone else seen “Evil Bong”? It’s horrible. And hilarious. And kinda heartwarming there at the end.

    How about “Dead Alive”? I’m not sure if it was intentionally aiming for B-Movie status, but it’s another one of those so-bad-its-good movies.

    One to avoid, however, is “Pot Zombies”. Entirely unwatchable, regardless of your level of intoxication.

  42. says

    “If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do?”

    Yes, that’s a real movie title. It was made by a fundamentalist preacher and a trashy B movie director who found Jesus. It’s an adaptation of a sermon (and you thought Battleship was a bad idea) about how the commies are about to take over America because of teenage drinking and public schools.

    It combines Birch Society paranoia, religious ignorance and gratuitous B movie violence all in one bizarre package. And while it’s supposed to be frightening, it’s just plain funny as hell.

  43. DaveL says

    Signs by M. Night Shyamalan.

    Not at first, but once you get to the part about the recon squad from an advanced interstellar civilization getting trapped in someone’s pantry, it’s unintentional hilarity from then on.

  44. Chelydra says

    Birdemic: Shock and Terror. As best anyone can tell, yes, it’s intended to be serious.

    Exploding kamikaze eagles – check. Death by hovering vulture acid – check. *Five minutes* of watching the heros silently watch the birds inexplicably stop killing and fly off into the sunset – check.

    The special effects must be seen to be (dis)believed. As must the plot. And the dialogue. And the acting.

  45. groucho says

    I haven’t seen anyone mention Operation Kid brother. It is a dreadfully bad 1960’s spy movie starring Sean Connery’s little brother Neil. Never heard of him? Well that’s not a surprise. In the movie, Britain’s top secret agent (hint – it might be someone played by a *different* Connery brother) is busy so MI-6 turns to his little brother to foil the bad guys. Just to make sure no one missed the fact that someone named “Connery” is in the movie, character’s name is also the actor’s name: Neil Connery.

    It’s a spy movie. And it’s got someone named Connery in it… How bad can it possibly be? Pretty bad as it turns out. I don’t think they were deliberately trying to create a terrible film, but just the utter contempt the producers must have had for the audience amazes me.

    I can just hear them say “Hey, do you think anyone will notice that this spy movie has Neil instead of Sean Connery?

    “Well, let’s hope they don’t notice until after they buy a ticket”

  46. dan4 says

    The bizarre, amazingly implausible “surprise” revelations during the last ten minutes or so of the horror movie Happy Birthday to Me are comedy gold. It’s like something out of an SNL skit (although it’s played completely seriously).

  47. movablebooklady says

    I actually remember “Gymkata.”

    But one of my favorite bad movies is a Mexican film about vampires who all wear white suits and can go around in the daytime because, you know, sunglasses. And whenever they want to do something vampirey, a red filter is put over the lens to indicate that nastiness is about to ensue. Saw it in the early 1970s at the Fox Theater in Venice Beach at one of the infamous double-headers they showed, everybody smoking pot and hollering at the screen.

    There’s another one with the Hell’s Angels as the good guys saving the hippies at the farm from the rednecks from town because their war leader had fallen for the beauteous hippy girl. Epic music when the motorcycles roar around the bend.

  48. Michael Hoaglin says

    I will certainly second The Wild, Wild World of Batwoman. I’ve been dying to see The Room. Glad to see it’s getting so many votes. And I’m glad Marcus Ranum mentioned Vanity, because that made me remember Tanya’s Island. Truly indescribable.

    The movies I tend to find unintentionally funny the most are usually ones with troubled production histories. The stop/start nature of the whole thing tend to give them a “we’re just making it up as we go along” feel, as actors disappear, scenes contradict one another, and the ending feels less like a climax and more like “well, that’s all our footage, folks.” Ghosts Can’t Do It certainly has these qualities, and it certainly is funny for all the wrong reasons, but that one I don’t think was a distressed production; it’s just that John Derek was the worst writer/director in the history of the world.

    Some of my favorites are Doctor Terror’s Gallery of Horrors (NOT Doctor Terror’s House of Horrors, that’s a decent film). Monster a Go Go, which has an ending which simply must be experienced since it can’t be described. Then there’s Night Train to Terror, which is three unfinished feature films edited down to one (quite baffling) anthology film. The Doomsday Machine, which has an ending even better than Monster a Go Go. The Mighty Gorga, a giant gorilla movie which can’t decide if it’s set in Africa or South America. Horror of the Blood Monsters (only one of its many titles) is quite nice, too. Gems, all of them.

  49. RickR says

    @71- Now you’ve done it: you’ve invoked The Shyamalan.

    “The Happening”. Don’t think. Just watch. NOW.

    But my personal favorite Night Crapfest™ is the live action multibazillion dollar version of “The Last Airbender”. It’s fascinating in its ineptitude, and hilarious.

  50. Michael Hoaglin says

    Oh, I gotta throw another one in there called Outtakes. That’s a special case because it’s actually a comedy. It’s a sketch-format spoof of TV shows (cause there’s just not enough of those). It’s just painfully unfunny, but then the very fact that you’re watching this, knowing that the writers actually thought that this will make you laugh when they’ve just got NOTHING, and suddenly it becomes hilarious after all. Odd experience.

  51. yahmule says

    Totally agree with #31. Lone Wolf McQuade is horrendously, deliciously bad in all phases and aggressively stupid even by Chuck Norris standards.

  52. tbp1 says

    @ 71: Yes, yes, yes.

    It’s got an effective general creepiness for a while, but then it just gets progressively dumber and dumber.

    I’m not exactly Mr. Science Guy, but I spotted a dozen or more howlers, problems that Ed Wood wouldn’t have tolerated.

    Also, Starship Troopers, in part for the same reason, and also in part because the good citizens of Buenos Aires apparently didn’t know how to pronounce Carmen’s surname, despite the fact that it was, you know, Spanish.

  53. tbp1 says

    @74: Didn’t that one get the MST3K treatment? Or at least some movie with the Connery who is not Sean?

    (In fairness to the actor, it can’t be easy being 007’s kid brother.)

  54. mildlymagnificent says

    Yup. I’d give Anaconda a vote. Creepy weird Jon Voight at his creepiest.

    But the most memorable bad-movie-on-late-night-tv award for us goes to Circle of Iron.

    We were on holiday with 2 energetic kids. We really, really needed to get to bed to be up at daybreak, but we just couldn’t tear ourselves away. When our hero awoke after the one and only night of love with his beautiful heroine, only to find the whole place deserted except for aforementioned heroine dead, crucified by the bad guys, crucified! we were hooked.

    We now know it was supposed to be a deep and meaningful introduction to comparing East and West (as envisaged by Bruce Lee), but oh dear.

  55. lofgren says

    Black Roses.

    An rock band use their Satanic music to turn good Christian kids into rebellious, hormonal teenagers. And then into zombies.

    My favorite sequence:

    A “troubled” no-good teen decides to act out in order to – why else? – get a popular girl’s attention. His idea of raging against the machine? Literally painting the town red. With some paintbrushes and a can of red house paint.

    Before he can get started, a teacher sees him with the can and chases him off. A good thing, too, because it turns out the can was possessed by Satan. We know this because it poofs into flames in quiet frustration when the kid runs off, and because the lead singer was hiding in the shadows watching.

    Almost topical for this blog, because the good guys are the conservative PTA who want to ban the band from playing, and the pointy headed academics are the unwitting allies of Satan by advocating free speech.

  56. says

    Highlander 2. It’s the only official sequel I know of that has been completely disavowed and deleted from the canon of it’s universe.

  57. ambulocetacean says

    Antipodeans must check out the horror schlocker Body Melt, featuring Australia’s sweetheart, Lisa McCune, giving bloody birth to an alien monster thing. Also starring William McInnes, Brett Climo and Gerard Kennedy.

  58. says

    Prometheus. Especially the scene where the supposedly serious biologist is goochie-goochie-gooing the snake-like animal that you know is about to go down his throat and later pop out of his chest.

    I laughed all the way through that movie it was so bad.

  59. eigensprocketuk says

    Nearly a hundred comments in, and no-one’s mentioned Scanners? Great premise, awful pratfall.
    Hmmm – must go and rent it to see if it’s really as funny as I remembered.

  60. lofgren says

    One thing to remember is this: they know. Maybe the producer doesn’t know, and maybe the director doesn’t know, and maybe the writer doesn’t know, but probably at least one of them knows. And certainly members of the crew and cast know.

    In every scene of most of these movies, there are at least three people just off camera desperately stifling their laughter.

  61. Didaktylos says

    I always thought “Lake Placid” was originally intended to be taken seriously – then at some point cast, crew and producers realised the story was rucking fidiculous and decided to play it for laughs.

  62. dingojack says

    No-one mentioned anything by Cecil B DeMille? Astounding!
    Ten Commandments. (Edward G Robinson: Where’s your gawd now [nyahh]?)
    Also, I’d like to nominate William Wyler’s: Ben Hur (1958). (‘Some men prefer snails and oysters’.)
    Dingo

  63. says

    Most unintentionally funny movie?

    For me, The Exorcist wins hands down.

    As for low budget MST3000 worthy hilarity, The Incredible Melting Man comes to mind. Let’s see now, an astronaut’s body is melting away because of exposure to radiation in space, but he is somehow able to go on a killing spree and display incredible strength.

  64. tbp1 says

    It’s slightly distressing how many of these I’ve actually seen (and not always on MST3K).

    I am finding, though, that now that I am no longer a young pup, I really don’t want to waste time and brain cells on things like this. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not on an all Fassbender and Bergman diet by any means. It’s just that, well, time is limited, and there’s lots of good stuff I will never get around to, and not just movies.

  65. Jeremy Shaffer says

    I just remembered another one: Hell Comes to Frogtown.

    It features Rowdy Roddy Piper as Sam Hell, one of the few fertile men left after a nuclear holocaust. Mutants that resemble frog- people have captured a group of fertile women so the government decides to send Hell in to rescue them. In order to ensure he doesn’t abandon the mission they attach a bomb in a sensitive area of his body that will detonate if he is a certain distance from his guard, played by Sandahl Bergman.

    For that matter there’s also They Live, also also starring Piper. In that he plays a down on his luck construction worker that stumbles into a resistance group that is fighting the aliens that have secretly controlled human civilization for millennia.

  66. gworroll says

    Highlander II: The Quickening.

    Granted, look at it as the sequel it was intended to be, and it’s just straight up bad, the Renegade Version slightly less so. But if you pretend all similarities and references to the first Highlander movie are purely coincidental and not a sign of any sort of connected story, it’s a fun if stupid adventure movie.

    From what I’ve heard, The Source might be The Quickening amped to 11 when it comes to this sort of enjoyment. I should watch it one of these days.

  67. thalwen says

    Anything that’s a Lifetime Original movie. They’re so unrealistic that I wonder if the writers have ever encountered human beings. Their desire to be “women’s movies” create a vibrant variety of characters.

    There’s the men, who are nearly always some sort of psychopathic monster with every character flaw available, and the woman doesn’t realise a thing until they’re trying to kill her. There’s the teenager, which is always in with the geek crowd with perfect grades and behaviour until they’re exposed to teh evil – like cheerleaders, guys or the internet, then they turn into uncontrollable criminals instantly and the poor mother can do nothing but be shocked, go to her friends and be shocked, and bake cookies. Then there’s the main woman character, she’s perfect except for having terrible choices in men and friends, being horribly annoying, complete doormats that suddenly develop courage as well as military tactical and sniper skills when it’s time to end the movie. Then there’s the evil government officials who try to stop the abusive behaviour, but they’re always evil so they do terrible things like take kids away from clearly psychotic and dangerous mothers.

    Really, a recipe for hilarity. I’d pick Invisible Child as the best of the worst, left me breathless, from laughing so hard.

  68. Mal Adapted says

    “The Last Dragon” was intentionally funny. I mean, Bruce Leroy goes looking for the fount of the wisdom he finds in fortune cookies, and it’s an IBM PC at the Sum-Dum-Goy fortune cookie factory? Outstanding!

    There’s a remake project that may still happen. Reportedly, Samuel L. Jackson will play Sho’nuff. I’d pay good money to see that.

  69. slc1 says

    Re Jeremy Shaffer @ #105

    Hey, They Live wasn’t bad. It got a 70% from Rotten Tomatoes and 7.1 from IMDB which ain’t chopped liver. Of course, the flic was directed by John Carpenter, who is very much an acquired taste.

  70. morningperson says

    On my top ten list is 1978’s Star Crash, a.k.a. The Adventures of Stella Star, starring Caroline Munro and Marjoe Gortner. It’s Italian SF, and the plot is a hot, convoluted mess of SF cliches and ripoffs, but the dialog is what makes it so memorably putrid. They tried for witty banter and epic one-liners, and Munro tries gamely, but everyone else (including Christopher Lee) either sound like they’re reproducing English phonetically or were blackmailed into appearing in the film. As I recall, the special effects looked like they were a high-school project. Some fans later claimed the filmmakers were trying to be camp, but that’s not how the film was originally marketed.

  71. RickR says

    I like “They Live”. The notion that the 1% might actually be conquering space aliens has crossed my mind more than once.

  72. jakc says

    Got to go with Star ship Troopers. It manages to be hilarious with Reichsfuhrer Doogie Howser and offensive ( even though I’m not a fan of the book). Bonus: like Battlefield Earth, filmed in part in the Badlands of South Dakota ( be very careful Warehouse 13 people).
    Also, I’d watch anything Caroline Munro is in, and hey, Prayer of the Roller boys is one of the classics of the roller skating SF genre.

  73. says

    I saw Megaforce when it came out. Even as a not so critical 13 year old I remember finding it substandard.

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned Death Wish 3. Alex Winter, later of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventures, as a gang member. The guy who played Chuck on Happy Days as a gang leader. Charles Bronson outfighting people a third his age. Martin Balsam cackling gleefully as his neighbourhood goes up in flames in the climatic final battle.

    Another laugher is Starship Invasions, a Canadian film from the late ’70s, when you could get government money to make a film no matter how bad it was. Robert Vaughan stars as an Earth scientists who teams up with good aliens to defeat evil aliens who want to kill everyone on Earth, led by Christopher Lee. Horrible special effects, and the aliens all communicate telepathically, so all their dialogue is dubbed over actors who don’t move their mouths. hwww.youtube.com/watch?v=kqpZpuNqZEo

  74. Jeremy Shaffer says

    slc1 and RickR- Don’t get me wrong, I love They Live and think it’s an awesome movie. I’m just not sure it’s an awesome movie in the way it was meant to be an awesome movie.

  75. richardrathbun says

    C.H.U.D. “Cannibalistic Humnanoid Underground Dwellers.” Lots of badly-produced green swamp-thing sort of creatures suddenly terrorizing the county fair (or something like it) and trying to mate with nubile coed-type chicks. Saw it in the theater in about 1980/81 in a double-feature with Caddyshack. Godd thing we were stoned!

  76. neonsequitur says

    I’m not sure if Cherry 2000 counts in this category, because parts of it actually seemed like they were intended to be funny, but they ended up being funny (sort of) for completely different reasons. And there were parts I couldn’t stop laughing at that I don’t think were meant to be funny at all… but I’m not exactly sure. The real problem is, I don’t think anyone involved in that project could make up their minds, either. Was it supposed to be funny, or not?

    Then there was Space Hunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone. It’s been too long since I’ve seen that one and I can hardly remember it. Unintentionally hilarious, or just pathetic?

  77. lofgren says

    There are a lot of movies on this list that have their tongue planted firmly in cheek: Cherry 2000, They Live, and Starship Troopers are all very self aware. I believe they accomplished exactly what they set out to do. Remember that film creators are usually film buffs, too, and more than a few of them well appreciate the “so bad it’s good” genre.

    Also, Marcus Ranum, “I was one of the kids who handed out marketing merchandise for a movie” pretty much illustrates an utter lack of intimacy with the creative team who helmed the film. Not only are you several steps removed from them, you were hired by people who may well not understand what the movie is to begin with. I’m sure we can all think of a movie or two that fell flat because the marketing team utterly failed to appreciate the project on its own merits and instead attempted to triangulate their campaign so that the it ended up looking like a less inspired version of something else that was already popular. Pretending that handing out merchandise for a movie give you any special insight is like the guy who rips your ticket stubs at the theater claiming to be an expert on Tchaikovsky because he worked a ballet performance once.

  78. stephenmurphy says

    Midnight Meat Train (yes really)

    Mesa of Lost Women

    The Creeping Terror

    The Sun Demon

    It Came From Hell (evil trees; one reviewer said ‘and to hell it can go’)

    The Black Gestapo (srsly; 1975 blaxploitation)

    Mad Dog Time

    Kingdom of the Spiders (bill shatner’s ham attracts arachnids)

    Space Jockey (Phil Tucker of Robot Monster fame)

    All things Ed Wood; Night of the Ghouls is less technically inept than Plan 9 or Glen/Glenda but the acting is far far far worse

    and for the respondent above, Werewolves on Wheels: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQgTVVq-V-A

  79. dan4 says

    @116: You’re actually thinking of Humanoids from the Deep (Now I have to go kill myself for knowing this. Thanks a lot Richard!).

  80. bybelknap says

    Darkman with Liam Neeson and Frances McDormand. Such good actors in such a lame-ass film. Lots of over-the-top scenery chewing and gratuitous violence. One kind of has to laugh to keep one’s lower jaw from hitting the floor – and staying there.

  81. jws1 says

    10,000 B.C. Or just about any “cave people” movie. They’re all crap, even “Ice Man” with Timothy Hutton.

  82. lofgren says

    Pah! The Evil Dead and a buttload of crap TV series. Big Deal. Sam Raimi is useless.

    He’s hit or miss, I’ll give you that. For example, all of the Spider-Man movies are misses. Drag Me to Hell and Army of Darkness are both excellent. I’m not really a fan of his TV series only because that style of camp does not appeal to me.

    But simply put, the fact that you think that Darkman is “unintentionally” funny proves beyond a doubt that you simply don’t get it, and renders your opinion of his work utterly worthless.

  83. lofgren says

    I’d also like to mention Reindeer Games, a pointlessly violent flick (opening scene: Santa Clauses being machine-gunned … in slow motion) which is so stupidly plotted that at the end, one of the characters Batmanesquely holds a gun on the hero and carefully explains what happened throughout the whole movie … probably because the producers realized that no-one in the audience would have a clue otherwise.

    I am convinced that there was a good script at some point during the preproduction of Reindeer Games. I’m not sure when or why it went wrong, but you can see hints of what might have been.

    One obvious example of how it got screwed up is that the main character is supposed to be an utter loser who finds himself caught up in a complex web of intrigue that is far over his head, a common plotline for noir films. Unfortunately, the character is played by Ben Affleck who delivers a completely rote and unremarkable Badass American Action Hero. The character feels like he was imported from another movie. The director seem totally unfamiliar with noir and its conventions, and substitutes a style that would be more appropriate for an action thriller.

    Watch it again (if you dare), but imagine Casey Affleck in the lead role instead of Ben. Instantly a much better movie, because Casey is much more convincing as an Everyman trapped in a world he has no control over. It doesn’t actually fix any of the movie’s other problems, so it’s still crap. But a clear case where genre confusion on the part of the director makes what might have been a fun if formulaic caper movie into unwatchable dreck.

  84. Austin Travis says

    Dead Snow.

    Two words: Nazi zombies.

    Three words: Nazi. MF. Zombies.

    It’s a Norwegian flick from 2009, and contains every single B-movie horror trope. EVERY. SINGLE. TROPE.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1278340/

    It’s one of the most awe-inspiring things I have ever witnessed, akin to the fabled train-crashing-into-a-bus-full-of-hemophiliac-nuns scenario that is used in every paramedic student drill.

    AT

  85. lofgren says

    My wife worked with many of the same people who made Boxing Helena on their next project. I won’t tell you her job, but it was, let’s say, not one that would allow her to disavow all responsibility for the final product. The storyline is absolutely glorious. It’s a parody of Hollywood, which I normally despise. Generally speaking, filmmakers should not make movies about filmmakers making movies. This is one of the exceptions.

    The film concerns the producer of Boxing Helena, whose house is being repossessed because the star actress of his movie has become famous and she is using her connections to block the distribution of his film. With the guidance of a Hollywood-style Buddhist guru, the producer launches several plans to finance the distribution himself.

    One scheme involves charging a fee in order to have your face CGI’d into the final film in a sex scene with the now-famous starlet. Shockingly, this is successful, and several well-off men gladly contribute. This causes the movie to become bloated with the same sex scene over and over again, only with a different man’s face pasted onto the body of the main actor each time. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to get the film distributed, and now the producer is having doubts as to whether or not it is truly the masterpiece he thinks it is. Luckily the guru offers him a bunch of pop-Indian one-liners about believing in yourself, etc., and the producer decides to continue to try to get the movie distributed despite the fact that it he has somehow now made it even more offensive than a movie about a dismembered woman kept in a box.

    The final, successful plan involves a magical kumquat farm, where each tree produces a fruit that tastes like the vaginal secretions of a different famous movie star. The secretive billionaire who owns the kumquat orchard knows that they taste like famous movie star pussy because apparently he has successfully bedded many famous women, and the hero just takes his word for it. Anyway, the producer takes advantage of the billionaire and returns to LA with crates of the blessed fruit, intent on selling them in order to finance his film. Along the way, he also finds contentment with himself and finally heeds the words of his guru to let go of his anxiety and self-doubt.

    They twist comes as the producer is driving around Hollywood and is shocked to find his guru ministering to a couple – only now he has embraced Kabbalah and is posing as a Hollywood-style Jewish guru. This is actually the only good scene in the movie. The producer speeds past in his sports car with the top down, then reverses slowly back into the frame. He then delivers the immortal line (in our household, anyway), “Atchoum [the guru's name]…? What the fuck?”

    With his confidence now utterly shattered, our hero suddenly realizes that he has made himself broke creating the world’s shittiest movie, and he’s about to throw more money at the problem in order to set up a business selling spoiled kumquats. Luckily, he makes the Dorothy-like realization that the fact that his guru was full of shit is irrelevant – the power to be comfortable with himself was within him all along. Thus consoled that he is a good person despite his horrible craftsmanship, gross exploitation of others, and blatant fraud, the producer proceeds to sell his stock of kumquats (whether or not their magical flavor was real or just the power of suggestion is left up to the viewer) and manages to get the movie distributed. Then he loses his house anyway.

    Unfortunately, what I just described was the three-hour director’s cut. By the time it was released, the CGI sex scene plotline and the magic kumquat plotline were both dropped, and the running time was cut down to 99 minutes. The final product is Hollywood Buddha, which is a movie so bad that it’s bad, rather than the so bad it is transcendentally brilliant movie it started out as.

    And no, the writer/director had absolutely no clue how awful it was. He was an egotistical maniac who saw himself as an unappreciated genius. Everybody else involved, however, was completely aware of exactly how bad every single decision he made was.

  86. says

    I sometimes have to remind myself that The Creature from the Blue Lagoon, whatever else it might be, is not, to the best of my knowledge, the title of a released movie.

  87. jonmilne says

    The Dark Knight Trilogy. Case in point:

    “AHMNOWEARINHOCKEYPADS!”

    and

    “WAREARTHEY?!”

    Also Showgirls. And Titanic. Star Trek V too. And Howard the Duck. And Star Wars Episode III (yes, even when all the Jedi are getting killed and Anakin is burning up). I’ll second the Starship Troopers one as well. Plus the original Total Recall. And all Saw movies after the third one and every Final Destination movie after the first one. I’ll say Avatar as well, for basically being exactly the same movie as the mediocre Ferngully: The Last Rainforest.

    And of course the undisputed king of them all, Plan 9:

    Lumpy Human: “Why is it so important that you want to contact the government of our Earth?”
    Effeminate Alien: “Because of death! Because all you of Earth are idiots!”
    Human: “Now, you just hold on, buster!”
    Alien: “No, you hold on!”

    Never watch a Uwe Boll movie though. That just makes you cry with pain and make you lose your faith in humanity.

  88. flex says

    I’d say that Battle Beyond the Stars is one of those films which is unintentionally funny by being so bad.

    Then there is Damnation Alley. Great book, and great stop-motion animation effects, but really, really cheesy movie (and George Peppard in a really cheesy mustache).

    But I think I’d place Space Mutiny as one of the best of the worst films I’ve ever seen on a rainy Saturday afternoon. I think it was their using the spaceship footage from the original Battlestar Galactica television series which was the icing on the cake.

  89. says

    One word: “Dune.” Obviously made in a spirit of Blockbusting Seriousness, and obviously so ridiculous one has to wonder what David Lynch and Dino di Laurentiis were thinking. I especially loved the bit where Atrides Jr. roped himself a wild sandworm and rode it to victory. Oh well, at least he didn’t ride in on a white horse, ’cause that would have made him a fascist.

    I remember they handed out cheat-sheets to the audience so we’d know what all the pseudo-Arabic words meant. But it was too dark to read them. Then they pulled the movie long before its initial tour was done.

    Did anything good ever come out with di Laurentiis’ name attached to it? What was that movie he made about the Wal-Mart-like drone who gets a chainsaw permanently attached to one arm, in place of his hand, and gets shot back in time to the Dark Ages?

    Also, there’s “The Chronicles of Riddick(ulous)”, which was an even sillier Vin Diesel vehicle than “Fast Five.”

  90. RickR says

    “Dune” is a fiasco, to be sure. But I think it’s more sad than funny. Lynch was completely the wrong choice to direct, and his script never came close to getting a handle on the source material.
    But still, there are aspects….the production design, which is extraordinary, as well as the cinematography. And certain images (like a single drop of water falling into a black pool) that have stayed with me all these years later. The sound design.

    It’s narratively and dramatically a mess. But pieces of it are striking (and still IMO, unmatched), so I can’t put it in the same category as something like “Plan 9″.

  91. lofgren says

    Did anything good ever come out with di Laurentiis’ name attached to it? What was that movie he made about the Wal-Mart-like drone who gets a chainsaw permanently attached to one arm, in place of his hand, and gets shot back in time to the Dark Ages?

    You’re fucking kidding me.

  92. lofgren says

    lofgren: that’s what I said when I first saw the movie.

    Are you actually claiming that Army of Darkness is unintentionally funny? Nobody could possibly be that dense.

  93. says

    RickR: the “source material” was crap, to be sure — but if you’re making a movie out of a book, then it’s your job to make sense of it, translate it to a movie, and use your judgment to distill it down to a story that works on the big screen.

    I think part of Lynch’s and DiLaurentiis’ problem was that they treated the book as a Great Work, and were blind to the glaring faults that made it a flawed book; so those faults got translated to an even more flawed movie, while a more competent director would have just chopped out the dumber bits and used his/her own discretion to write a more plausible script.

  94. says

    Are you actually claiming that Army of Darkness is unintentionally funny?

    No, I’m claiming it was unintentionally lame, either as comedy or as anything else.

  95. lofgren says

    No, I’m claiming it was unintentionally lame, either as comedy or as anything else.

    Actually, it was intentionally lame as comedy. But whatever, you don’t have to like it. It’s just that the topic at hand is unintentionally funny movies, and there is pretty much no way Army of Darkness could fall into that category.

  96. RickR says

    RickR: the “source material” was crap, to be sure — but if you’re making a movie out of a book, then it’s your job to make sense of it, translate it to a movie, and use your judgment to distill it down to a story that works on the big screen.

    Which is why I stated that Lynch was absolutely the wrong person to tackle it. Looking back at his career from 2012, “Dune” was so far out of Lynch’s wheelhouse as an artist and film maker, it’s kind of mind boggling that he was involved at all. After all, if you’re looking “to make sense of it, translate it to a movie, and use your judgment to distill it down to a story that works on the big screen”, David Lynch is not the guy you’d call.
    My memory of it is hazy, but I seem to remember that Lynch was offered the job-

    1) based on the strength of his prior feature “The Elephant Man”, and

    2) had a handshake agreement with De Laurentiis that he would write/ direct “Dune” if the producer would finance one of his personal projects (which IMDB tells me never happened).

    Anyway, it got made and it’s (mostly) a travesty, though if you follow Lynch’s later work, you can see that the things he’s obsessed with personally wound up being the most interesting elements of the movie.

    For Lynch’s part, he would agree with all of your criticsms, and basically disowns the movie these days.

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