There’s nothing like sitting down in a movie theatre or at home and watching a good movie. But it’s a particularly special class of experience to watch a movie that’s so bad it’s good, an example of moviemaking so dire it’s become a cult favorite in its own right. In fact, there are now awards that celebrate making terrible films – known as the Razzies, prestigious in their infamy.
There are some movies that are so bad that you might genuinely believe the filmmaker must have intentionally made the movie that way, movies that make you stop and think, “Did the director honestly think that this was good?” But if we’re not dealing in conspiracy theories, and we take these movies at face value as honest pieces of art rather than parodies, then their failure is shocking – and at times, hilarious.
But then again, there’s an strong following of ‘B movies’ – independent, low-budget, melodramatic movies that are, arguably, more artistically free than their big budget cousins. Take “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” for example: Richard O’Brien’s 1975 film adaptation of his own musical was initially negatively received by critics and viewers alike, but the movie now has one of the strongest movie-cult followings in the world. Today, millions of cities all over the world do midnight showings of O’Brien’s movie with shout backs, costumes, stage actors, prop bags, and more. One of the earliest cult favorites was “Reefer Madness”, released in 1936, which presented an exaggerated and embellished depiction of what happens when you smoke pot. The movie inspired a movie musical adaptation in 2005, and has developed a strong internet fanbase (though we’re guessing that lawmakers in Washington and Colorado didn’t watch the movie before legalizing marijuana). Then, flash forward to 1988 and we get “Killer Klowns From Outer Space”, a movie that was so bad that the terrible quality actually immortalized the film instead of being swept under the rug to be forgotten along with countless average movies of the time.
Against traditional fashion at The Richest, this time around we’re counting down to the movie that made the least money but gained notoriety through just how bad it was. These five movies have become cult classics and have featured regularly in ‘worst ever movies’ rankings. Some movies you may have heard of, some you may have seen, and some you may never have heard of: But enjoy the list, and – if you’re brave enough – check these films out, but don’t say we didn’t warn you…
5. Showgirls (1995) – $20.4 million
We’re not sure what “Saved By the Bell” star Elizabeth Berkley was thinking when she decided to star in this awkward film in 1995. Berkley starred as a drifter named Nomi, who’s a stripper with Las Vegas showgirl dreams, and her overacting in the role left her vulnerable at the hands of critics – and they showed no mercy. With lots of sex, full frontal nudity and a promising plot, the movie did have a wide release but was ripped apart by critics. Once Nomi achieves her dream, she throws a fellow showgirl down the stairs and a series of other murders occur in an awkward and badly written fashion. What makes this film a cult classic is the fact that home movie sales of this movie went through the roof, and “Showgirls” parties, where people gather just to make fun of the film, are now an established tradition. This one features in Empire’s list of worst movies ever, as voted for by film goers.
4. Mommie Dearest (1981) – $19 million
Truth be told, this film your author’s favourite. “Mommie Dearest” is based on the autobiographical novel written by the daughter of Joan Crawford. Undoubtedly, the book was better than the film, but lucky for us moviegoers, this film was inspired by true events that paint Joan Crawford as probably the worst mother ever – making Octo-Mom and the girls on “Teen Mom” look like mothers of the year. Considered to be one of the best worst movies of all time, this film quickly became a cult favorite. Who can resist giggling at the mask-covered face of Faye Dunaway with rollers in her hair screaming, “NO WIRE HANGERS!” Even though the film does cover the serious topic of child abuse, it’s presented in a campy manner, making us wonder whether the crew were trying to attempt a bad soap opera drama. This movie won 5 Razzies (the antithesis of the Oscars, celebrating the worst releases of the year) and was named as one of the worst films of the 80s – and that’s a highly competitive category!
3. Howard the Duck (1986) – $16 million
Variety wasn’t kidding when they said; “Daffy Duck will be pleased to hear he didn’t miss any career opportunities when he wasn’t chosen to star in “Howard the Duck.” Considered to be one of the most terrible films ever made, “Howard the Duck” tells the tale of Howard, an anthropomorphic duck from the planet Duckworld. From his shaking armchair, he is thrown into outer space and lands on earth, where he meets a singer named Beverly. Howard takes to smoking cigars and battling a villain called the Dark Overlord. The film was directed by William Huyck and produced by Gloria Katz and George Lucas, and was based on a comic book by Marvel. The film flopped at the box office, but maintains a cult following, especially for the little person who donned the duck suit. Even better, the voice for Howard wasn’t added until post-production, so there are major synchronization issues between the duckbills and the voice. This movie, described as a ‘hopeless mess’ by one critic, won 4 Golden Raspberry awards including Worst Screenplay and Worst Picture.
2. The Beastmaster (1982) – $14 million
Let us introduce to you all Dar the Beastmaster, whose costume suggests he might be the rejected brother of Conan. His is a fantasy film that proved so wrong it came full circle back to right. Born of a cow after a witch transferred him from his mother to the bovine, Dar is especially in tune with animals – his furry friends help him on his quest to (what else?) battle evil and seek revenge. Between bad acting, bad costumes, and terrible makeup, “The Beastmaster” has a current ‘rotten’ rating of 42% on Rotten Tomatoes, but it has become a favorite for B movie enthusiasts. With a high count of character deaths ranging from 165-200, and cheesy one-liners that can make even the least discerning moviegoer cringe, “The Beastmaster” has gained immortality thanks to TBS and HBO, who showed the movie with incredible frequency during the 1980s.
1. The Room (2003) –$1,900
We may have mentioned that the previous films have gained the reputation of being some of the worst in history, but “The Room” has truly earned the title. The same guy starred, wrote, produced, and directed this film while shelling out at least $6 million of his own money to shoot the film, plus advertising costs that included a billboard over Highland Avenue in Los Angeles. Tommy Wiseau is the powerhouse behind this now-legendary film. Originally released as a drama, “The Room” was received so poorly that it was pulled and re-branded as a ‘dark comedy’. Between Wiseau’s bad acting, bad writing, and bad production values, “The Room” is now known as the ‘Citizen Kane of bad movies’. But it garnered a huge cult following: In 2009, after being aired on the Cartoon Network’s ‘Adult Swim’ segment, The Room became the top-selling independent movie on Amazon, and now late-night showings all over the United States are common. Audience-participation typically includes throwing spoons and footballs at the screen… Don’t believe that this film is actually as terrible as it’s been made out to be? Have a look below.