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Weekend Discussion Thread: Which Are the Truly Great Bad Movies?

If you’re reading this blog, then I assume that you are into bad movies as much as I am. I got into a discussion the other day about one that is very close to my heart: 1987’s “Masters of the Universe.” It came up because apparently a remake is in the works. :::sigh::: How can you possibly improve on a movie that rivals “Road House” as the best bad movie ever made? I mean that cast! (Dolph Lundgren, Frank Langella, Meg Foster, Billy Barty, a so-young-she’s-positvely-dewy Courteney Cox, Jon Cypher, James Tolkan, Christina Pickles, the list goes on and on) and scene after incredibly riffable scene of nonsense played (almost) completely straight. It’s a guity pleasure and my nominee for a list of the truly great bad movies.

Have you got one? Something that just makes you cringe, but every time you find it on TV you drop whatever you’re doing and watch the whole thing? Tell us! It can be something MST3k/RT/CT has done or it can be something else. Spill!

149 Replies to “Weekend Discussion Thread: Which Are the Truly Great Bad Movies?”

  1. David J says:

    Sinbad of the Seven Seas starring Lou Ferrigno(TV’s Incredible Hulk). It’s a sword and sandal movie of epically ridiculous quality. I will never forget the scene where the hulkish hero is thrown in a snake pit and he somehow sweet-talks the snakes into letting him tie them all together and use them as a rope to climb out!


  2. Doug S says:

    Along the same lines as Masters of the Universe, the live action Super Mario Bros movie is HORRIBLE. About a year ago my 5 year old daughter watched it constantly. I used to love/hate it but now I just hate it. :)


  3. Mills says:

    Anyone ever seen Turkish Star Wars? Ouch.


  4. Really old Teenager From Outer Space says:

    I’ve gotta go with “Killer Klowns from Outer Space” It’s one of my favorite guilty pleasures. It’s just plain fun, I watch it anytime I see it on late night tv.


  5. ackbar1138 says:

    I have a great appreciation of Roadhouse because it is so funny. Definitely not boring. It may be the best unintentional comedy of all time.


  6. Big McLargeHuge says:

    David Lynch’s Dune is great and horrible, sometimes all at once. The scope and the sheer huevos of taking on what had had been considered one of the most unfilmable science fiction novels ever was breathtaking, and yet there was Sting in his space-speedo, everyone was hissing in ridiculous stage whispers, and some of the special effects looked like a 4th grade project.


  7. Yipe Striper says:

    howard the duck.


  8. MSTJon says:

    For me, Lady In the Water.

    Goofy story, clunky narrative…but can’t take my eyes off it. Let the mockery begin…


  9. seanchristopher says:

    I agree with Canucklehead..Orca is one for me. Another Corman (He executive produced it) not so classic, Humanoids From the Deep. It starred Doug McClure and Vic Morrow.

    I also enjoy Japanese movie monsters. I was and still am a big Godzilla fan. My favorites are Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster (Save the Earth…Save the Earth, I’m the solution, stahhop pollution. If you hear this song it will be in your head for days. Destroy All Monsters and the 1974 Godzilla vs Mecha Godzilla.


  10. digital_trucker says:

    Without even looking at previous comments, here are three that leap to mind.

    Flash Gordon
    Howard The Duck (we share the same first name!)


  11. ck says:


    Hey! Lay off Crow’s favorite movie. Now let’s all
    emjoy a nice Christmas song classic…


  12. Blowie the Dolphin says:

    How about Escape from L.A., with Kurt Russell. Bad movie with an actor I really like.


  13. doug says:

    OK. Back at 25, I said Flash Gordon and I’m not going to change that. However, many of the bad movies I remember from my youth just aren’t on TV anymore. In a time where there are channels about nothing but golf (?) I think there’s room for a satellite channel that just shows old bad movies. I’d love to see Billy the Kid Meets Dracula, They Saved Hitler’s Brain, Jesse James meets Frankenstein and the Audie Murphy catalog shown again. The best part would be that the channel would only have to air late at night or on the weekends.


  14. saherrin says:

    Thanks LanceCorbain:

    eggah (#91) inspired about When Justin Met Kelly?
    Blowie is also on point with one the most pointless sequels ever…
    How about Batman and Robin?
    How about Moonraker and View to A Kill? Good cast..a real James Bond (per se)
    Star Trek V
    The Legend of Boggy Creek (we got the sequel, why not the original?)


  15. Stoneman says:

    1. The Manster
    2. The Beastmaster
    3. The Great Outdoors
    4. Cabin Fever.
    5. Just about everything by M. Knight Sham-a-lama Ding Dong.

    Professor Gunther: Hey, thats cool! Since our local public radio station stopped playing music during the day, I haven’t kept up with a lot of current offerings in jazz etc. I love Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Duke Ellington, but strangely enough (and I’ve heard a lot of people dis it) I also like “fusion jazz” of the 70s, like Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and solo stuff by Stanley Clarke and Al Di Meola.

    Whats your favorite Ramones album? For me, its a tie between their first one and “Too Tough To Die”.

    EricJ: Did you use to write for Creem magazine? Are you J. Kordosh or Dave DiMartino by chance? Something familiar about you writing style.


  16. ck says:

    #112 Escape From L.A.:

    A classic example of an interesting original movie spawning
    a dumb sequel.

    (They just didn’t care) :(


  17. Professor Gunther says:

    Stoneman: Fusion is a tough animal for me, because I can say I don’t like it but then turn around and listen to In a Silent Way (the one Miles said at the time was going to “scare the s*** out of everyone”), so I’m going to say I’m selective with my fusion–but you’ve mentioned some great stuff!

    My VERY FAVOURITE Ramones album is It’s Alive, which is just so raw, beautiful, and tight. (I listened to that two-album set sometimes literally ALL DAY between the ages of fifteen and seventeen.) For studio albums I’ll go with Rocket to Russia, although I also love their first eponymous release. Actually, I love everything up to–and including–Road to Ruin; after that things get uneven for me. But, hey, they were the Ramones, and I miss them like hell.

    And while I realize your question related to Creem magazine was directed at EricJ, you have unleashed a flood of memories for me, because I LIVED for Creem magazine back in the 70s. Indeed, I’d go far as to say that my love for the Dauph’s movie reviews primed me for MST3K (and helped me understand why I EXCLUSIVELY watched old cheesy monster movies when I was a child).

    Thanks for continuing the conversation! :-)


  18. Bob (NotThatBob) says:

    Anybody ever see the TV movie “The Devil’s Daughter?” Belinda Montgomery refuses to believe she’s the daughter of Lucifer, but Shelly Winters and her wacky neighbors are quite sure she is. The awesome cast also includes Joseph Cotten, Abe Vigoda, Robert Foxworth and the great Jonathan Frid (Barnabus Collins of “Dark Shadows”) as Shelly’s mute servant. The “creepy” theme music sounds exactly like “This Old Man (He Played Knick Knack)” played a bit slowed down and slightly off-key. Abe Vigoda goes for an accent here, and I’m not quite sure what planet it’s from. DVD’s been out of print for a while, but you can still find it on eBay (for a ton of money now).


  19. Bob (NotThatBob) says:

    Ooooh – anybody mention “Killdozer” yet? It’s just recently come out on DVD.


  20. Canucklehead says:

    @#119 Killdozer? Clint Walker, No!


  21. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    Clint Walker, YES!


  22. Statskeeper says:

    Mine tend to come from the 60s musical genre:

    The Cool Ones – how can you resist Roddy McDowell playing a Phil Spector-type svengali? Add in two bland leads, bad music, the irresitable charm of Mrs. Miller, and Glen Campbell as a rock singer and it’s pure gold!

    Fastest Guitar in the West – Roy Orbison as a singing Confederate soldier, sent to do one last job but he hasn’t heard the war has ended. Oh, and he has a gun in his guitar! And the “Indians” make the Hekawi from F-Troop look competent. Another Sam Katzman gem, one supposedly turned down by Elvis.

    And two Filipino movies that I’ve only seen on bootleg DVD:

    Alyas Batman y Robin – So it’s only half in English but easily followable. Batman, Robin, Penguin and Joker sing parodies of American rock songs through the whole movie. And there’s a midget Spiderman at the end.

    James Batman – Comic legend Dolphy plays both James Bond and Batman (with a stripper on a pole logo and striped cape) called in to save the world from a crazed villain trying to set off a bomb. I have it both with and without subtitles. The Bat Cave scenes are a hoot (Robin can light up a bulb in his mouth) and the Bat fights are really funny (Batman loses his trousers!).


  23. Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    I have witnessed The Fastest Guitar in the West and was in jaw-dropping awe of how bad that was. Didn’t anyone somewhere along the line of the production of this film stop and go “Hmmm, maybe Roy Orbison really ISN’T an actor?” I’m not sure it’s the best of the bad, but it’s pretty flippin’ bad! It didn’t even have any good songs! And the title is wholly inaccurate. Everyone knows that Jimmy Bryant is the fastest guitar in the country, West, East, and parts in between. Ha-So!

    p.s. – I LIKE coffee!


  24. Statskeeper says:

    #103 – even worse is Turkish Batman. Did you know that Batman & Robin do flips before fights? Or they show up at strip clubs? And that the Batmobile is a Murat (Turkish Fiat)? On top of that it rips off music from the Bond theme to Led Zepplin’s “Whole Lotta Love”.

    #68 – It’s been a while since I’ve seen Impulse. Shatner calling people “dog food”, and out-pimping everyone on the planet. Shear gold, and extra points for the annoying kid.


  25. BrockTungsten says:

    My first choice is one with a big budget and big stars, The Towering Inferno. I love it for the wrong reasons (which is the only way I can love it) such as a weak plot, disjointed subplots and many really fine actors and actresses struggling to make something good out of nothing but being overshadowed by the fire which turned out to be as unconvincing as the rest of the movie. OJ Simpson covered his lack of talent with a neat little trick — he couldn’t act so he just acted pissed off. “What difference does it make, who they are?” “Sure the kids can hear. I don’t know. Maybe they’re in the shower.”

    My second choice is anything directed by Renny Harlan — Deep Blue Sea, Cutthroat Island, The Long Kiss Goodnight, etc., etc.


  26. The GR says:

    It has to be Zombie Flesh Eaters 2, the Citizen Kane of bad movies.


  27. Stoneman says:

    Professor Gunther: Ah, yes, the movie reviewa of Eduard Dauphin were one of my favorite highlights whenever they appeared. Hilarious and accurate appraisals of horror, slasher, ghost, monster, etc. films. And they his annual “Ten Worst Films of the Year”. I’ve been thinking for some time of compiling his work, just haven’t gotten around to it. And your right, his style of comment and critique helped set the stage for my attraction to MST3K as well.

    I still have an issue that has a short feature and interview with Joel, right around the time I think he had made the decision, or was close to it, of quitting the standup and writing rollercoaster he had been riding, and move back to Minneapolis. Pretty cool stuff.

    Speaking of good/bad movies, can’t leave Sly out- “Rambo II”, “Rocky II through XXV”, and many others.


  28. AndrewJ says:

    The 1978 “comedy” Record City


  29. itsspideyman says:

    Perfect……. with John Travolta and Jamie Lee Curtis. Maybe the most vacuous movie ever.
    Superman II……. the most dissapointing sequel ever made.
    Prometheus…… a waste of a 3D ticket.
    Flash Gordon…… so bad it deserved to be repeated.
    Howard the Duck…… see Flash Gordon


  30. OnenuttyTanuki says:

    So many greats have already been mentioned.
    How about what in some ways could be considered the Midwestern Manos or Teenage Strangler.
    Bog (1978/83): A small Wisconsin town is terrorized by ancient Crayfishman that is attacking people and draining them of their blood. Surprisingly, Bill Rebane had nothing to do with hunk of cheese from Wisconsin.

    Attack of the Supermonsters: Take equal parts bad rubber suitmation and low budget Anime, mix into T.V. show size bits, and then cram four of them into a 2 hour long movie. Basically it’s Ultra-7 mixed with Battle of the planets. Where all the dinosaurs/monsters are guys in suits lead by the T.Rex from The Last Dinosaur and all the human characters are cel animated.

    Return of the Dinosaurs: Same as above , but instead suitmation it is stopmontion. Over all plot is kinda of a Born Free/Datarki meets Jurassic Park. Due a passing comet various elemental factors have caused dinosaurs to roam the Earth once more. It’s up to an Environmental Conservation team to round them up and transport them some place safer before they causes trouble and/or are hunted by big game hunters.


  31. Professor Gunther says:

    Stoneman: Actually, YOU sound like you perhaps wrote for Creem. And I LOVE the idea of compiling Dauphin’s work! Interestingly, after rummaging around a little yesterday I found four issues, all of them in great condition. One in particular (February 1978) I am especially glad I still have as it features the Dauph’s review of Desperate Living AND also has Billy Altman’s review of Never Mind the Bollocks. (How funny that Altman also reviews KISS Alive II!) In general, I’m not an overly nostalgic person; I like to move on, knowing that I can look back on stuff if I want to (but usually never do; the stuff I’m still into has been with me ever since, which means I’m not looking back, if that makes any sense). Still, though, as I was telling my wife yesterday, I wish I were the kind of person who kept all of my magazines, etc. in plastic bags (like Frank and Forrester), because I’d have about seven or eight years’ worth of Creem magazines (to sell on eBay :) ), but, alas, I’ve never done that, and I’m lucky to have the four I found. (And just so you know, if I had all of those issues I wouldn’t sell them on eBay.)

    That is SO cool that you have an issue that features Joel!



  32. Kirk says:

    I have to go with torgo367’s choice of The Last Dinosaur. Fakest dinosaurs I’ve ever seen, yet I can’t look away. I wish RiffTrax would do this one.


  33. agent mom says:

    Oh my gosh, how could I forget KillDozer? Best bad/good movie ever!

    And how can people leave out some John Agar movies like Tarantula, Attack of the Puppet People, Invisible Invaders and the BEST ONE EVAH, the Brain from Planet Auros! Great viewing.

    Has anyone mentioned “The Flesh Eaters?” You think it’s a Zombie picture but it’s not. It’s about a Nazi Scientist who’s on this island who creates bilogical warfare with a vengence. It’s microscopic beasties that literally strip you to the bone, and by accident they are loose all around the water of the island. And OF COURSE a plane crash lands with innocent people and they are stuck there. Used to be played a lot on late night (ONLY) in Los Angeles on Channel 5 and 9 in the 70s. Was considered too gruesome to be played earlier in those days, but it’s pretty mild by today’s standards. We never missed it when it was on TV (but we sure didn’t tell our parents :) )


  34. Statskeeper says:

    AndrewJ – thanks for the link. I had never heard of that film. I just watched the opening credits, and in the words of Dr. F “pure 70s, pure pain”. If I saw the cast list only I would have thought it was from a Love Boat episode. The topper for me was seeing the name of James T. Aubrey as the producer. He was the head of entertainment for both ABC (in the late 50s) and CBS (early 60s) and was known for putting on lots of dubious programming (“broads, boobs and fun”) and explaining it as “healthy young people enjoying themselves”. Nice to see his movies followed the same lines.


  35. Kathy says:

    Only movie I can think of that I hate myself for watching is “Showgirls”. And I hate to admit to watching “Who’s That Girl” with morbid fascination when they’d show it…before Madonna wished it into the cornfield or whatever happened to it.

    “Incidentally, if you love/hate Xanadu/Can’t Stop the Music/The Apple, seek out Toomorrow.”

    I second that!

    That movie is especially good for proving that a lot of otherwise very talented people can get together (Val Guest, Don Kirshner, Roy Dotrice, Margaret Nolan, Hugo Montenegro, Stuart Freeborn) and make a gigantic mess of a film.

    (yeah, Newton-John is talented…just not as an actress)


  36. fatbarkeep says:

    I have to agree with ‘This Guy’ I don’t enjoy watching bad movies.
    To me a bad movie is, by definition, unwatchable. If I can sit through a whole movie and enjoy myself then I consider it a good movie. Therefore I don’t watch bad movies.
    99% of the movies listed above I have never seen or couldn’t get through.
    Like Flash Gordon. Terrifyingly bad movie, but a friend of mine LOVES it. He considers it a good movie.
    It’s all a matter of perception.
    Are there movies I enjoy that many would consider bad? Absolutely!
    Starship Troopers (mentioned above) What a fun movie! Just watched it the other day. Good movie.
    Legally Blonde 1 and 2. And I’m a heterosexual man, but I still smile all the way through them both.
    I will probably take some heat for this one but I like the movie “2012” Just watching our hero escape every possible disaster imaginable is great fun for me.
    There are no bad movies, just ones you don’t enjoy.
    P.S. Death Race 2000 is a GREAT movie!


  37. Big Al says:

    “From Hell It Came”. Love to watch me some tree monster. (Think it’s called Tabanga)


  38. “Master of the World”, a 1960s lesser Jules Verne work (two of his works, actually, melded into one hot mess). Stars Vincent Price, chewing the scenery as the I’m-going-to-destroy-the-world’s-armies-in-frieght-car-lots-to-show-them-killing-is-wrong mad inventer, a glowering young Charles Bronson, and the worst crinkled macrame flying ship ever made by Mrs. Johnson’s third-grade Brownie troop. You could almost hear the kids hollering, “it needs more propellers on top … more propellers!!” Utterly ghastly. And yet … utterly watchable.


  39. AndrewJ says:

    Statskeeper>> I understand that James Aubrey, while running CBS, thought “Gilligan’s Island” was too… highbrow. Aubrey lost his job at CBS after he put a bunch of new series on the schedule, without any pilots, from a producer with alleged Mob connections.


  40. Stoneman says:

    Kathy: Wow, “Showgirls”! That was one I watched almost all the way through with my jaw on the floor, it was so hateful, stupid, shallow and misogynistic, but I couldn’t stop watching.

    Professor Gunther: Yeah, I had about three solid years of 70s Creem (’77-’79), but I left them at my moms when I moved away to college, and when she found them her puritanical streak saw them as pornographic and she tossed ’em. By the time I found out it was too late. But I do have every issue issued in the 1980s, and while not as vital or meaningful as 70s Creem, there was still a lot to enjoy. I also have some really good specials on Led Zeppelin, The Doors, and Great Guitarists.



  41. Creeping-Death says:

    Maximum Overdrive is a classic awful movie that I wish would come out on blu-ray and/or be riffed. Emilio Estevez vs. evil trucks to the best soundtrack ever, every song on the soundtrack is by AC/DC.
    I thought Abraxas would have made a excellent MST3K movie for years and then RiffTrax does a good riffing on it.


  42. MikeH says:

    Damnation Alley. Driving across the US to seek out other nuclear war survivors. Avoid them big cockroaches, and the weird sky effects. Been a long time. Just thought it was a great idea turned stupid movie.


  43. Mstjon says:


    Can I assume this means you didn’t seee Superman IV: The Quest for Peace? That little piece of cinema is outdone by any other version of Supes put on film (And I’m including Bob Holliday singing showtunes in this).

    Not a great bad movie. Just a depressing piece of sludge best ignored by all.


  44. Sitting Duck says:

    Fantasmo Cult Cinema Explosion posted some thoughts on Damnation Alley shortly before they screened it. It includes some interesting comparison on the advertising budgets Fox provided for both DA and Star Wars.

    Still, that was one sweet truck.


  45. Nick-0 says:

    Wow so many picks for this one but I’ll keep it brief:

    Horror – Jack-O, Wes Craven’s Shocker, anything with Tom Atkins in it (Night of the Creeps, Halloween 3, Maniac Cop)

    Sci-Fi – Abraxis, Creepazoids, Vampire Vixens from Venus

    Shot on VHS (always a riot) – Woodchipper Massacer (not the faint of heart, it’s baaaad), Boardinghouse (A MUST!)

    Comedy: Hamburger the Movie

    80’animated toy commercial: G.I. Joe the Movie (it’s got a musical number)

    All time guilty pleasure: Troma’s Tales from the Crapper.


  46. Sitting Duck says:

    And speaking of Eighties animated toy commercials made into feature length movies, let’s not forget Transformers. Even with its faults, it’s still infinitely better than the Michael Bay films.


  47. Tad Ghostal says:

    Sorry, a little late on this one. I’m a huge horror fan (old and new) and I gotta say….Psycho Cop. Not Maniac Cop, most people I’ve encountered think I’m talking about that one. No, Psycho Cop. Stupid slasher from the late 80’s. Everything that comes out of his mouth is of the “You have the right to remain…Dead!” caliber. So there is an amount of intentional comedy but it just so completely and unabashedly uses every horror cliche to the nth degree…it’s a blast!! The sequel was more of the same which is a good thing, but I’ve never been able to get a hold of the unrated version so the one I have is edited so heavily it takes you out of the bad/greatness. Good stuff! :]


  48. slowermo says:

    Gah!, I was searching to see if a topic had been covered (has Best Back-To-Back Episodes ever been done?) and I find my favorite thing to talk about in the world was the Weekend Discussion just last week! While I was on vacation. Oh well, no one is reading now so I can blabber on.

    Of the movies not already mentioned (and I only thought of Samurai Cop and the shoo-in trifecta of Troll 2, The Room and Birdemic) I nominate (in order from best to worst best bad of the top ten [wait, what?]):

    Lady Streetfighter
    Lady Terminator
    The Executioner, Part II (From the director of Lady Streetfighter, James Bryan, making him easily the best best bad director ever)
    Massacre in Dinosaur Valley (With Michael Sopkiw, the star of Devil Fish. He only made 4 movies, all pretty great. That makes him the John Cazale of B-movies)
    Pieces (From the director of Pod People!)
    Death Drug (Or any PCP movie for that matter. Disco Godfather, Desperate Lives, Wild Beasts. They’re all amazing.)
    Riki-oh: The Story of Ricky
    Silver Dragon Ninja (There’s this whole genre of already completed Hong Kong movies with added footage of white actors put there to attract American audiences. Godfrey Ho is the master of them.)
    Evil Laugh (Also has one of the most fascinating back stories of any film on this list. The actress who refused to do nudity in the film went on to do porn and the actress who had no problem with nudity went on to run a major escort service.)


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