Good movies are plenty entertaining on their own, but occasionally, there’s nothing like turning your brain off and enjoying a bit of amusing ineptitude put to film. Watching bad movies is a strangely communal experience, as friends and strangers alike gather in homes and theaters to laugh at a truly baffling failure of a film. It’s tricky trying to label the “best” of these horrible and horribly entertaining films, but here are the most entertainingly bad films of all time that both bad film buffs and uninitiated watchers can enjoy.
From Justin to Kelly
Remember when American Idol was a new reality show craze sweeping the nation? This was the shameless cash-in on that craze you never saw. First season winner Kelly Clarkson and runner-up Justin Guarini try to pretend they can act in this head-scratching rom-com musical centered around an oddly wholesome spring break hotspot. The story involves an inexplicably evil friend with a convoluted plot to keep the two leads apart. The songs are among the movie’s most hilarious sequences, for the dated costumes, lousy choreography, and gratuitous shots of skateboarders.
Dumb and Dumber To
Comedy certainly changed in two decades. It’s gone from innocently stupid to situationally cruel. In bringing beloved doofuses Lloyd (Jim Carrey) and Harry (Jeff Daniels) into modern comedy the Farrelly Brothers forgot why the film was successful in the first place: their bonded friendship. In Dumb and Dumber To this duo isn’t just a pair of idiots on a quest, they’re nasty to each other. And worse, they’re fully aware of the racist and sexist jokes they’re making. Harry and Lloyd aren’t innocently misusing words, they’re specifically out to push people’s buttons and one of them is attempting to sleep with the other’s daughter as revenge. Ick.
Jerry Warren made some dreadfully boring movies, often by taking foreign genre flicks and cutting in a few scenes of bad actors talking about the plot against bare walls. No one need suffer through The Incredible Petrified World or The Wild World of Batwoman. ButFrankenstein Island, Warren’s last film, is a different matter altogether. Here are a few of the elements: mind-controlled zombie guards who dress like the Unabomber, vampires created via magical pitchfork, hybrid-alien cave girls who smoke skull bongs, giant vegetables and man wrestling, John Carradine appearing as a superimposed Godhead, and Katherine Victor, who introduces herself with, “I’m Sheila Frankenstein… Actually, it’s Van Helsing, I prefer my married name.”
SHARK ATTACK 3: MEGALODON
While Jaws: The Revenge, Tentacles and Aquanoids are all worthy so-bad-they’re-amusing schlockers, this tale of a giant prehistoric shark chowing down on the citizenry takes the piscatorial prize for laugh-out-loud inanity. Forget the dodgy CGI of Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopusbecause you won’t believe what the makers of this Israeli-South African co-production try to get away with, especially when their oversized mama megalodon swallows jetskiers and life-rafts of survivors whole. Torchwood star John Barrowman looks like he’s having a great time, not least when he ad-libs “the line” at 66 minutes in.
Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star
In this Adam Sandler-written death-belch, Bucky Larson (Nick Swardson) has a micropenis but becomes a porn star anyway because that’s how Adam Sandler movies always go: unqualified men stepping up to become heroes without having to change one single thing about themselves, thereby insuring that a nation of schlubs understands that the only thing separating them from greatness is the right set of chance circumstances dropping into their Cheetos-covered laps.
The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence)
The first two Human Centipede movies have their detractors, but they are real movies. Real disgusting movies, of course, but that was the point. The horrifying concept behind the franchise – that a series of madmen are each inspired by the other to sew their victims’ mouths to each other’s rectums – was treated like a cruel scenario. Director Tom Six dared you to watch the horrible events unfold because they were scary, not because they were fun. But that’s just the approach he took in The Human Centipede III, an impossibly shrill, grotesque “comedy” that presents the most atrocious events of the whole series (and that’s saying something) as if they were gags, and the result is… you want to gag. And you probably will, either at the hateful violence, the pervasive misogyny, the unwatchable performances, the wrongheaded political satire, or all of the above. If you can get through it, that is.
Batman and Robin
This is the film that brutally concluded the ’90s Batman franchise, and it isn’t difficult to see why. Director Joel Schumacher created a garish eyesore of a film, where even the cityscapes look like elaborate sets made up entirely of enormous statues and ugly green lighting. The acting and dialogue is similarly horrendous, with Arnold Schwarzenegger spouting ice puns as Mr. Freeze while Uma Thurman overacts as Poison Ivy and Chris O’Donnell whines relentlessly as Robin. George Clooney plays the caped crusader, who, in this version, carries around a bat-credit card and wears a suit accentuating his nipples. Seriously.
GIANT SPIDER INVASION
What more besides the title do you need to know? How about that the spiders are actually from another dimension? How about that a goodly percentage of their victims are sleazy brain-dead rednecks? How about that the “hero” spider was created by draping a huge arachnid suit over a VW and driving it around while people inside the vehicle waved the beast’s big “legs” for added “realism”? And on it goes. Great fun, even if it can’t quite match the incredible poster.
TERROR OF TINY TOWN
This all-midget western was homaged by punk band The Dead Kennedys and in the M*A*S*H television series. A Poverty Row production from director Sam Newfield — who made 14 other movies that year — it’s like a pint-sized version of Deadwood as evil little bastard Bat Haines tries to steal love interest Nancy from heroic Buck Lawson by stirring up a clan war. Midgets walk into full-sized saloons and ride ponies and sing songs and do derring but the weirdest thing is how, given the conventional story and lack of normal-sized actors, you quickly adjust to the tiny cast.