Hollywood doesn’t always turn out gut-wrenching dramas which keep us on the edge of our seat and win Academy Awards. Sometimes, especially during the slower summer months, they just want to turn a profit on a project. Maybe the script isn’t up to par, or the director bailed for another film, but whatever the reason the wondrous movie they had in mind just didn’t turn out all that great. A movie like that could kill a studio, and there are plenty of examples of bad ones out there. But beyond the bad there’s a whole additional category: the truly terrible; movies so awful they transcend their own awfulness and become great. We can’t help but enjoy them. Some have become cult classics. Others are hidden gems chock full of unintentional comedy, poor special effects and truly terrible acting. These ten movies are so bad they’re actually good – we’re guessing there’s going to be some Nicolas Cage on this list.
10 Demolition Man (1993)
With Demolition Man you get all kinds of awesome, like Sly Stallone and Wesley Snipes at the height of their popularity, all roided out and snarling at one another. You also get a terrible plot, a younger, cuter Sandra Bullock doing Sandra Bullocky things, and a lot of Taco Bell. Hell, this movie could have been (and likely was) a series of movie advertisements for Taco Bell. Everything about Demolition Man is over the top. The neon hair, the stupid futuristic outfits, Denis Leary, the bad fight scenes, and most importantly everyone’s acting. There’s no better way to enjoy this flick than with a 10-pack of Taco Bell tacos and a hefty suspension of disbelief.
9 Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988)
Next time your friends want to watch a movie you can whip out this little gem. It stars former wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper as Sam Hell, a prisoner in a post-apocalyptic world controlled by women. Humans are in danger of dying out due to infertility (makes sense) so Sam Hell is assigned the task of rescuing a group of fertile women from a harem of frog mutants in order to save the human race. To ensure their prisoner cooperates, the women strap a bomb to Sam Hell’s junk which goes off if he wanders too far away from his assigned guard. You get some mutants who are derived from frogs, a nuclear wasteland, a wrestler trying to act, what’s not to love?
8 Con Air (1997)
It’s our first Nic Cage sighting – and it’s a beauty. There’s no pretense with Con Air, no sense that it should be something greater than it is. What you see is exactly what you get; crazy stupid, but kick-ass fight scenes, bad dialogue and awesome one-liners, a lot of explosions, and tons of half-baked roles played by surprisingly popular actors. John Malkovich, Ving Rhames, Steve Buscemi, Dave Chappelle, and John Cusack all make an appearance. There’s so much awful yet entertaining dialogue in this movie it’s easy to forget Cage’s awful southern accent. Plus, we haven’t even touched on the plot. Because everyone knows that when you’re an imprisoned army ranger getting a ride home on a plane full of hardened criminals things are bound to go wrong. Luckily for all of us Cage does the right thing and fights for justice!
7 Batman and Robin (1997)
When you watch this movie you need to remember that for each minute spent watching the producers spent $1 million to make this piece of trash, and it looks every bit like they took it as a challenge to ensure not a single penny was left over. Interspersed between gauche scenery is some utterly terrible acting delivered by George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Uma Thurman, among others. In addition to campy one-liners (mostly delivers by Schwarzenegger’s amazingly over-the-top Mr. Freeze) and terrible action scenes, you get the answer to an age-old question – do your super suits need fake nipples moulded onto them?
6 The Wicker Man (2006)
5 The Thing with Two Heads (1972)
How can we describe this one? Well, it’s a movie in which a white bigot is dying and a black man needs another head to buy himself some more time in this world, so they transplant the white dude’s head on the black dude’s body so they can live a continued existence. This awkward movie is so badly done you can’t help but laugh. There’s little to no chemistry between the “actors” playing the thing with two heads, the dialogue is atrocious, and the special effects (basically two dudes crammed into one suit) is out-of-this-world awful. No one looks like they want to be in this movie, especially the actors playing the lead roles. It’s utterly awesome. And yes, someone actually got paid to come up with this idea and make a movie out of it.
4 Roadhouse (1989)
Maybe Roadhouse doesn’t belong on this list. After all, it’s really nothing short of raw awesomeness wrapped into a package of mullets, bare-fisted bar brawls, and a lot of Patrick Swayze. But, then again, a closer look into this might reveal, we admit, a few minor flaws, like that fact that Swayze plays a bouncer who basically fights customers all the time. I can’t imagine that’s overly good for business – yet people seem to love him nonetheless. Still, there’s some high-quality acting going on here, a great story, some tender moments, and of course some well-choreographed bare-knuckle action. We almost said all of that with a straight face. This movie basically epitomizes the absurd decade that was the 1980s and it’s worth every second you waste watching it.
3 Troll 2 (1990)
Even the name of this movie is an utter fail. There’s not a single damn troll in Troll 2. In fact, it’s a movie about goblins who want to kidnap people and turn them into plants because they’re vegetarians. Even the bad guys can’t be bad! The goblins don’t actually want to eat you when you’re a human (which might actually be terrifying). No, they want to capture you and turn you into a plant first. The acting is terrible (goes without saying) and the script is awful (as you would suspect) but words cannot properly convey just how terrible this movie is. No one wants any part of Troll 2 and it’s quite obvious, yet we all go kicking and screaming into the void that is an hour-and-a-half of total astonishment that this piece of awful sludge was ever made, and we loved every minute of it.
2 Deadly Prey (1986)
Deadly Prey is a Rambo knockoff –only with less clothing and more ass-kickery. This movie is so bad-ass, so full of testosterone that once you finish it you’re going to bench press your couch forty times just to feel like you were worthy of witnessing what just transpired. You might leap your fence and punch your neighbor in the face when it’s over, but whatever, that’s the cost of watching quality bad cinema. Give him a copy of Deadly Prey and he’ll watch it and understand why you hit him. You may think we’re being a little overzealous in our praise. Perhaps you think us full of hyperbole? Well, in one extremely memorable scene our hero actually kills a guy by tearing off his arm and beating him with it. Sold yet?
1 The Room (2003)
Entertainment Weekly called this movie, “The Citizen Kane of bad movies.” You want drama? The Room gives you melodrama piled on top of steamy, stinky melodrama. This movie is so bad that the cast and crew had to actually defend it as a real project – and not some sort of scam or spoof film. Look, there’s some sort of plot but it won’t make sense. There’s some acting, but that isn’t going to make any more sense than the plot. There’s a scene where a dude “thinks” for like 30 seconds. It’s awful, but trust us, you’re going to laugh, you’re going to be perplexed, and most importantly, you’re going to tell your friends about it.