I know this one may sound a little strange, but hear me out: I love terrible movies.
There are many kinds of awful movies out there, and I don’t like all of them. I don’t care for badly executed comedies that are intentionally bad (e.g. Your Highness, Scary Movie, Epic Movie, etc.). Nor do I care for well written movies with bad actors who try too hard. On the other hand, anything with zombies or Bruce Campbell is pretty awesome. I especially love unintentionally funny movies. If it was done with a shoestring budget, a campy storyline, and brilliant overacting, then chances are, I love it.
I like awful movies for a number of reasons. One reason is that they make me think, “I could do that.” Anything that looks like a bunch amateur filmmakers got together with their friends and made a zany film always makes me wish I had been there with them. Also, it’s fun to laugh at people’s failures, and let’s face it: terrible movies are one of the best kinds of failure around.
If you want to join me, you too can enjoy really bad movies. Here are some tips to help you along on your journey of awful movie appreciation:
- Don’t expect too much. Nothing ruins the experience of watching a bad movie like expecting it to be good. It’s like a spoon of what you think is butterscotch pudding, but it turns out to be chicken gravy.
- Watch it with friends. This will enhance the experience in a lot of ways. You’ll have someone to aid in making fun. Different things tickle people differently. Something that may not have amused you has a greater chance of being funny when your friends are providing a track of contagious laughter. Also, everything is better with friends.
- Pay attention to the quotes. You’ll find so many times when they apply to your life, so repeat them often.
- Watch it more than once. You’ll notice ridiculous things that you didn’t notice before.
- Try watching it on mute. I love doing this. You can make up what they’re saying, which makes it twice as funny–especially if you’re watching it with friends. And if your friends are good at improv comedy, then it’s even better.
- Bad movies make for great dates. You have a high degree of activity versatility: On one hand, you can enjoy the movie with your date for all of its fun qualities. On the other hand, you won’t lose much by ignoring it and giving in to carnal desires. Not to mention, having the movie sounds going in the background can make for a memorable evening.
If you want to try watching terrible movies, here are some that I recommend:
This is the mother of bad movies, and it has a huge cult following. If you don’t understand why I like bad movies, but you’re bad-movie-curious now, find that weird person you know (you already have someone in mind, don’t you?) and ask them if they’ve seen it. Chances are they’ll go on about how much they love this movie, and they will be more than happy to watch it with you, or better yet, drag you to the midnight show. The fans of this movie have so many scripted cues and things to shout out whenever there’s a stupid line or an idiotic scene. If you can’t enjoy this, then bad movies may not be your thing. Also, you’re lame.
Starring the Governator himself, this movie was based on a Philip K. Dick story. I’ve never read it, so I couldn’t tell you if it was any good, but the movie is ridiculous. The costumes, the special effects, the plot . . . all ingeniously terrible. The three-boobed mutant woman is probably the most memorable part, as any man who’s seen this film will tell you. The movie is a poorly executed mindf*ck where it ends with you wondering if it really happened . . . or you would wonder if you cared. (I just found out they’re remaking this film for release later this year. I recommend seeing it before Colin Farrell ruins it forever.)
I will never be forgiven for making my wife watch this on our honeymoon. Contrary to what the title would make you believe, there are no trolls in the movie. The featured monsters are actually goblins, and they are vegetarians who kill people by turning them into mushy pond scum and eating them. Every single line is badly acted, and there’s a scene where the little boy hero jumps up on the table and pisses all over the family’s dinner. The major plot twist and most memorable line comes when the boy realizes that the name of the town his family is staying in, Nilbog, is actually “goblin” spelled backwards. I know I just gave away most of the good stuff, but you really have to see it to believe it.
This movie is an Ed Wood classic. If you’ve seen Ed Wood, which is also amazing, Plan 9 from Outer Space is the movie that it’s about. Watch them both if you want. Plan Nine is a terrible screenplay, and much of the film is stock footage and bad special effects. One of Wood’s techniques was to almost always use the first take for every scene. One of the big name actors in this film, Bela Lugosi, died during the filming, so Wood used a double for the remainder of the scenes. Oh, and he made the double cover his face with a cape.
As I mentioned before, anything with Bruce Campbell or zombies I’m pretty much guaranteed to like. This has both. Even better, it’s the first of an entire series! Campbell’s character spouts off ridiculous one-liners and bad puns, carries on with goofy bad-ass antics, and makes me want to be him when I grow up. There is a stage musical version of this that I really want to produce.
These are just a few of my favorite awful movies, but I have plenty more to suggest for anyone who inquires. If you are also a bad movie fan, tell me about your favorites in the comments.