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Weekend Discussion Thread: Truly Bottom-of-the-Barrel Movies

Alert reader Ed suggests:

We’re having a small exchange of comments on the announcement of the new Rifftrax of “Dark Power.” There were a couple of comments as to Rifftrax introducing, even people who thought they’d seen it all, to bizarre-beyond-belief movies, such as (natch) “Dark Power” and “Santa Claus and the Ice Cream Bunny.” Cinematic Titanic gave me “East Meets Watts” and “Rattlers.” So, what’s the most over-the-top entrée into new levels of weird?

I have noted a time or two that when somebody calls “Manos” or “Fu Manchu” the worst movie ever, it’s because they haven’t seen some of the films being made in places far from Hollywood. Me? I’ve seen the Catman movies.

So what truly truly truly bottom-of-the-barrel movies have you discovered?

120 Replies to “Weekend Discussion Thread: Truly Bottom-of-the-Barrel Movies”

  1. EricJ says:

    Nadroz:
    David DeCosteau’s (as Mary Crawford) A Talking Cat!?! which I discovered on Netflix. It has a couple of fairly known people (Jody from Family Affair and Alice from the X-Rated musical of Alice in Wonderland), a million establishing shots of like 3 places, music played on a Casio, and Eric Roberts doing his part on a phone while drunk(?). There is also A Talking Pony!?! and some Holiday Puppy movies that are all made about the same way!
    Also, don’t get me started on the 1313 film series, either. Cougar Cult just places .JPG heads of Cougars on the ladies!

    David DeCoteau, who started out in gay porno, gives gay B-movie directors a bad name, as if Joel Schumacher wasn’t bad enough. (Even leaving aside the 1313 film series, he tried to reboot a couple of Puppet Master sequels for SyFy, one of which spends the majority of its time detailing how our innocent hero is persecuted by bullies!)
    His Full Moon background is enough for him to apparently consider himself some kind of “auteur” just for doing commentaries on Trailers From Hell, but his directorial style is student-film to put it gracefully.

    I will say this is the first I’ve heard of “Mary”‘s direct-video kiddy films, though, and think even Asylum contributed a few talking-dog entries–Sooner or later, the ones that go from porn to horror all try to use the kiddy market as a safety net. (See Barry Mahon “Wonderful Land of Oz” mention above.)

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  2. Johnny's nonchalance says:

    Atorgo:
    Boy that EricJ guy really takes smug, superior nostalgic antagonistic nerd to new levels!

    Yeah, he IS Comic Book Guy. Although EricJ would surely inform us that the character’s real name is Jeff Albertson, despite creator Matt Groening’s desire to name him Louis Lane.

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  3. Doug Glassman says:

    ahaerhar:
    @88
    That would be the legendary Godfrey Ho, who made no less than three “Robot Cop vs Hopping Vampire” films.

    And Ninja Terminator is, believe it or not, one of the better movies he hacked together. The Live Nude Geeks live riffers did an entire Godfrey Ho month and only the heavy snark saved me from the reused footage, horrible dubbing and the worst wigs of all time.

    If you get a chance, watch “Ninja The Mission Force”, where a group of web reviewers including Brad Jones (the Cinema Snob) created their own Godfrey Ho-esque ninja movies with public domain movies like “Laser Mission”.

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  4. Torgo's Pizza says:

    Anybody else around here ever see “Cocaine Wars” (aka “Vice Wars”), starring John “Bo Duke” Schneider as an undercover DEA agent apparently trying to topple a fictional South American junta leader-slash-cartel kingpin whose chief henchman is – no kidding – a stereotype of a Bavarian, while a spunky lady journalist tries to help an young and idealistic newspaper publisher rise to the presidency. Two completely different movies – a quickie action cash-in and an attempt at something that had more social and political meaning – crash into each other and neither survives the pile-up.

    Bonus points for the box cover, which depicts the string-beany Schneider as having a Schwarzeneggerian torso and biceps, wielding a comically large machine gun, with the female lead clinging to him in desperation.

    Additional points awarded for this being brought to American audiences by the one-and-only Roger Corman.

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  5. GregS:
    Anything made by Andy Milligan.Must be seen to be believed.

    Twelve of his movies are listed in the Wiki as “lost,” which I take to mean no surviving copies exist. Sad to imagine all the fine Rifftrax we also lost.

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  6. Gotta go with “Miami Connection.” Horrible but wonderful. I can’t wait to see what Rifftrax does with it!

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  7. Heela Monster says:

    How about a Hong Kong stinkburger titled “Snake Fist Fighter” from the 70’s? They released this Jackie Chan vehicle (original title: “Master with Cracked Fingers”) in the 80’s to cash in on Chan’s recent first U.S. made film “The Big Brawl”, which my wife and I liked.
    This is easily the worst film I ever paid money to get into(!)and was so bad and incomprehensible that the projectionist skipped a reel and the audience never knew it until the skipped reel was projected much later!
    Jackie Chan disavowed it himself. IMDB.com has it averaged rated at 5.3 out of 10 stars! I cannot believe it!

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  8. Cornjob says:

    Possibly the oddest movie I’ve seen that was surreal by design instead of incompetence is called Rubber. The fact that the main character was an animate car tire was perhaps the least strange aspect of the movie, which was live action and had a live audience watching within the movie from a hilltop with binoculars while the “movie” was staged in and around a town below them. It was well made and played straight. Not a movie for everybody, but you could certainly do worse.

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  9. 1 adam 12 says:

    “The Smithee Awards” crew constantly find absolutely horrible, sometimes offensive films. El Topo, Roller Blade, the previously mentioned Catman… The list goes on and on.

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  10. Doryna says:

    I’m up with the others that said Starcrash. That’s some hilariously bad stuff there.

    If it has not also already been said, Samurai Cop must be seen to be believed. Oh dear god, the bad and horrifically delivered dialogue, the 80’s hair (and wig!) and the best running a bad guy over scene ever set to film. Oh, and the samurai cop is a white guy who fights with a samurai sword all of once in the entire film.

    I have a friend who collects terrible movies. He’s shown me some gems over the years, and some that make anything shown on MST3K/Rifftrax/Cinematic look like damn masterpiece by comparison.

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  11. Cornjob says:

    One other film that stands in my memory is a Japanese movie called Suicide Club. It starts with an outbreak of mass suicides where at each scene is found a spool made from strips of skin removed from the participants of the last mass suicide. A journalist discovers a website with blue and yellow dots in clusters whose numbers seem to predict the amount of fatalities in the suicides. A criminal called Genesis dressed like a glam rocker/Elvis impersonator kidnaps the journalist and performs a guitar song for her whose refrain is “because dead shine all night long” while one of his crew rapes a woman in a makeshift tent. Genesis then lets the journalist get to a phone and call the police. Case apparently solved.

    Up till now you might be thinking that this is just a rehash of The Odyssey, but it gets really hard to understand now. The journalist spots a poster of an annoying pre-teen girl band who has been at the periphery of things. The girls in the poster are holding their fingers out in a way that translates into a phone number or street address that leads the journalist to some sort of cult or something that seems to be involved in removing the flesh strips that composed the spools of skin that were found at the locations of the mass suicides. The journalist maybe joins the cult. I seem to remember the movie makes us think the journalist has been killed or at least maimed by the cult, but then at the end of the movie the journalist turns up at a train station or something and appears OK except that she fails to acknowledge an acquaintance who calls out to her.

    Suicide club was well made. So it doesn’t qualify as the kind of accidental surrealism you find in things like Robot Monster. Maybe this movie would make more sense if I was Japanese. But as it stands I thought Eraserhead made a lot more sense and was a lot easier to follow.

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  12. Cliff Weimeyer says:

    Cowboys vs. Zombies (aka The Dead and the Damned) is a recent release that is amazingly terrible. Despite having what is essentially a single location, it attempts to tell an incomprehensible story through a series of crazed performances. Think characters of Deadwood being played with the subtlety of the Goblin Queen from Troll 2 and being menaced by the dancing zombies of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. It is the only film I have ever seen that has worse makeup work done on the normal people than the monsters. Definitely worth your time.

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  13. schippers says:

    Man, I just watched a film this week that goes so far beyond the baddest bad I’d yet experienced that I couldn’t believe it. That film is Ax ‘Em. My friends, I can’t say this is the WORST movie ever made, because I’ve not yet seen any Uli Lommel films; however, Ax ‘Em would most definitely be in the running. It is 110 minutes long, and for the first 45 of those minutes it is almost literally impossible to hear any lines spoken by any of the actors. It is only through blind luck that I picked up the name of the main character – the rest are rendered effectively anonymous by poor quality (or nonexistent) boom mics and the fact that all actors tend to speak simultaneously and at high, screeching volume. I recommend this movie if you are brave, and if you like the feeling of your jaw dropping as you watch true, sheer incompetence, and not the enjoyable kind of incompetence like you get from The Room and Birdemic.

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  14. schippers says:

    Oh, and I did not discover this movie (I found it through the very enjoyable 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting website), but Adam and Eve vs. the Cannibals is a hoot and a holler. I would heartily recommend you track this movie down, if only for the chance to see Adam born from a repulsive, man-sized, fleshy cocoon.

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  15. schippers says:

    #88 – Starcrash is stupid but a lot of fun. Contamination, by the same director, is also stupid but a little less fun.

    Back to Starcrash – no less a talent than John Barry was tricked into composing the score for Starcrash. It’s a great soundtrack.

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  16. schippers says:

    #27 – I love Doomsday Machine. I have seen it (or listened to it) many, many times. I think I love it because it is so hopelessly muddled.

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  17. Cornjob says:

    Someone mentioned Uli Lommel. He made a very good contribution to the early 80’s post Friday the 13th horror movie boom called The Boogeyman, a lesser entry named The Devonsville Terror and an entertaining Indiana Jones rip-off called Secret of the Seven Stars or something like that. All three starred his then wife Suzanna Love.

    Unfortunately he went pants crapping insane in the 90’s and started making movies that border on cinematic violations of the Geneva Convention. I saw one of these about the BTK killer which had the production value of a family reunion filmed by a drunk cousin who didn’t really know how to work the camera. The content made me think it was made for someone who really wanted to see a snuff film but couldn’t get a hold of one. Watching it made me want to scrub out the inside of my skull with a toilet brush. Call a Hazmat team if you encounter one of Uli’s later movies. But enjoy his early ones.

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  18. Steve Vil says:

    More or less against my will, I had a friend introduce me to the world of Chris Seaver films.

    I was forced, more or less Clockwork Orange-style, to endure “The Karaoke Kid” and “Mulva: Zombie Ass Kicker!” and “Filthy McNasty”.

    If you’ve never seen a Chris Seaver movie, do yourself a favor and don’t.

    Also: Mortdecai.

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  19. Steve Vil says:

    1 adam 12:
    “The Smithee Awards” crew constantly find absolutely horrible, sometimes offensive films. El Topo, Roller Blade, the previously mentioned Catman… The list goes on and on.

    “El Topo”? Are you on crack? Jodorowsky is amazing!

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  20. TrumpyCanDoMagicThings says:

    I’m going to add to #97 and #101 in regards to the “films” of David DeCosteau. A friend discovered “An Easter Bunny Puppy” on Netflix and, knowing my love of bad movies, invited me to watch it with him.

    I only made it about 15 minutes before admitting defeat.

    Things to note about that film:

    1) The puppy on the cover image is not the dog that appears in the film. The cover image is actually the cover of a book written by a character in the film.

    2) One of the actresses seems to have severe laryngitis and can barely speak. This apparently gave no one pause during production.

    3) The movie, as far as I can recall, really didn’t have that much to do with Easter and/or bunnies. It didn’t really have much to do with anything.

    As previous commenters noted, there are a billion establishing shots of the same two or three locations.

    We also watched a bit of “A Talking Cat?!” and discovered that ample footage was re-used from one film to another.

    In an odder example of “bottom of the barrel,” is an animated children’s series called “Scruff.” Made in Spain, it was imported into the US in the mid-2000s to be sold on $1 DVDs which smell like a chemical fire. My friends and I used to buy them for laughs from Walmart during our high school years. A few, I believe (though my memory is fuzzy), were supposed to be short “movies,” which is why I include it here, though it was primarily a TV series. Pretty much every single shot in every episode after two or so episodes in was recycled. At random times during each episode, there would be a musical sequence…but only about 4 or 5 musical sequences were made for the series (including the theme song!) so they just reused those endlessly.

    It also sported some hilariously odd dubbing. At one point, a couples’ children knock over a picnic table and spill the food. The father angrily yells: “Look at what you’ve done! Now what will we eat? Look at the state of the meat!”

    One more from the dollar DVD bin: “The Wonderful Galaxy of Oz.” A sci-fi version of The Wizard of Oz, the movie was a 26 episode anime series that was edited down to about an hour. That ends up as coherent as you’d expect. The dub sounds like it was recorded in someone’s dusty garage and the characters inexplicably pray to a rock.

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