B movies! Whatever they lack in budget and star power, they more then make up for with crazy ideas and deliberate lack of taste. With Hollywood blockbusters, there are hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, often forcing everyone involved to play it safe. Thus they try to offer humor without the provocation, sexiness without the sex, and plots that we’ve seen million times before.
Lacking the state-of-the-art special effects, big names or multi-million dollar marketing campaigns, B movies need to get creative to draw in an audience. So they turn to provocative concepts, outrageous gimmicks, nudity, gore, and pretty much anything else that might lure in the curious. Our list of 15 most ridiculous B movies you need to see peeks into a crazy – and sometimes sleazy – world of cyborgs, zombies, strippers, sharks and one very angry Santa Claus.
15. Snakes on a Plane (2006)
Sometimes, a movie concept comes along that is so brilliant yet so utterly bonkers that you can only admire the sheer chutzpah of its creators. In 2006, Snakes on a Plane seemingly took the world by storm. Its title alone convinced Samuel L. Jackson to star in a leading role. The internet went crazy about this movie months before it even appeared in cinemas and producers responded to that Internet fan-base by incorporating their feedback into Snakes on a Plane.
Jackson plays FBI Agent Neville Flynn, charged with protecting Sean Jones (Nathan Phillips), a key witness in a case against the mobster Eddie Kim (Byron Lawson). As they board a flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles, they’re unaware that a hit man has hidden a crate full of dangerous snakes into the airplane’s cargo hold. When the snakes break loose and poison the pilot, it’s up to Flynn and the flight attendant Claire (Julianna Margulies) to somehow land the plane, while all around them snakes kill the passengers in innovative and disgusting ways.
14. Zombie Strippers (2008)
Former porn star Jenna Jameson and former Freddie Kruger Robert Englund star in this low-budget low-brow horror comedy about a strip joint catering to necrophiliacs. Zombie Strippers takes place in a dystopian near-future in which the US government experiments with zombie soldiers. One of them infects Kat (Jameson), a star dancer in an underground strip club. However, this only makes her more popular with the club’s patrons. Soon enough, the club’s owner Ian Essko (Englund) starts goading the other dancers to undergo the change themselves if they want to keep their jobs.
Zombie Strippers is a 2008 American horror-comedy written and directed by Jay Lee. Very loosely inspired by the Eugène Ionesco’s 1959 absurdist play Rhinoceros, the movie never lives up to the full potential of its admittedly entertaining premise. Zombie Strippers is neither clever enough to be truly satirical, nor inept enough to belong in the “so-bad-it’s-good category”. It is, at best, a guilty pleasure.
13. Piranha 3DD (2012)
Released in 1978, Piranha was a satirical horror movie by Joe Dante (Gremlins). Its 1981 sequel Piranha II: The Spawning was directed by young James Cameron (Aliens). In 2010, French horror movie director Alexandre Aja (Haute Tension) made a remake titled Piranha 3D. In 2012, Piranha 3DD bravely continued the saga about the prehistoric man-eating fish.
Maddy (Danielle Panabaker – Friday the 13th, The Ward, The Crazies) is a marine biology student returning to her family’s water park where her sleazy step-father Chet (David Koechner – Anchorman) plans to introduce more adult-themed attractions. Soon enough, swimmers begin to mysteriously disappear from the nearby lakes and rivers, killed by the piranhas who now travel around using the sewers. It’s only a matter of time before they begin attacking the visitors of the water-park. Luckily, Ving Rhames (Mission: Impossible series), Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future) and David Hasselhoff are all here to help Maddy save the day.
12. Zombeavers (2014)
Many of the most popular B-movies are horror-comedies. This is no accident. With their cheap special effects and outrageous premises, these films deliberately aim for that elusive “so-bad-they’re-good” status. Case in point: Zombeavers, a 2014 American horror-comedy in which bunch of teens get attacked by beavers who have been zombified by a toxic chemical spill.
Jenn (Lexi Atkins), Mary (Rachel Melvin), and Zoe (Cortney Palm) are a trio of college girls looking for some fun times in a secluded forest lake house. However, they are followed by their horny boyfriends Sam (Hutch Dano), Buck (Peter Gilroy), and Tommy (Jake Weary). That turns out to be the least of the girls’ problems as they all get attacked by the zombeavers. In a time-honored tradition of teen slashers everywhere, Zombeavers proceeds to mercilessly mutilate and murder its cast of good-looking teens. Written by Al and Jon Kaplan and directed by Jordan Rubin, Zombeavers earned a staggering $44,080 at the box office.
11. Sharknado (2013)
SyFy has been producing cheap made-for-TV monster movies for at least a decade. Many of them include sharks: dino sharks, mega sharks, mecha sharks, ghost sharks, sand sharks, avalanche sharks… You name it! However, only one SyFy shark movie has truly captured the public imagination: Sharknado, a 2013 disaster flick about a tornado made out of sharks.
Former teen heartthrob and an occasional Chippendale dancer Ian Ziering (Beverly Hills 90210) plays Fin, a Los Angeles bar owner who tries to save his estranged wife April (Tara Reid – American Pie, Alone in the Dark) after the freak water spouts scoop up all the sharks from the nearby ocean only to flood the city streets with them. Sharknado isn’t afraid of making fun of itself, which explains its success with the audience. So far, three sequels followed, with the last one – titled Sharknado: The 4th Awakens – airing on Syfy in July of 2016.
10. ThanksKilling (2008)
ThanksKilling is the first – but not the last – movie on our list featuring murderous poultry. Kristen (Lindsey Anderson), Billy (Aaron Carlson), Ali (Natasha Cordova), Darren (Ryan Francis), and Johnny (Lance Predmore) are college friends travelling home for Thanksgiving. During the trip, Darren regales the group with a tale of a demonic turkey created centuries ago by a Native American shaman as revenge against the early American settlers.
Sure enough, the evil turkey – nicknamed Turkie – is real and awakens from its centuries of slumber after a dog desecrates his miniature totem pole by urinating on it. Turkie wastes no time in wrecking havoc: soon enough he’s hijacking cars, shooting people, and disguising himself by wearing a Groucho Marx moustache. Directed and co-written by Jordan Downey, ThanksKilling was filmed for mere $3500. In 2013, it got a crowd-funded sequel titled ThanksKilling 3.
9. House of the Dead (2003)
House of the Dead was among the first of the video game adaptations made by notorious German filmmaker Uwe Boll. Ostensibly based on a 1997 Sega arcade game, Boll’s action-horror movie follows a group of party-goers led by Alicia (Ona Grauer). As they arrive onto a distant island, instead of a rave party they find themselves besieged by zombies. Jürgen Prochnow and Clint Howard also appear in this mess of a film.
Uwe Boll may be a lousy filmmaker, but he has proven himself to be a brilliant movie producer. Throughout the last decade, Boll made a number of movies based on computer games such as Alone in the Dark, Bloodrayne, In the Name of the King, and Postal. Despite ensuring brand recognition for his movies as well as big-name actors (who usually appear only in tiny roles), Boll’s objective wasn’t to make any kind of decent movie. He openly admitted how he simply wanted to exploit a German tax loophole that allowed him to get half of his movie budget refunded by the government. His movies such as House of the Dead are widely considered among the worst movies ever made.
8. Man-Thing (2005)
Considering the worldwide popularity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and superhero blockbusters in general, it’s hard to imagine a time when comic book adaptations were, for the most part, cheaply-produced B movies. But as recently as 2005, American director Brett Leonard (The Lawnmower Man, Virtuosity) made Man-Thing – a low-budget movie inspired by the Marvel Comics character created by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, and Gerry Conway in 1971, just months before DC Comics debuted Swamp-Thing.
Man-Thing was once Dr. Ted Sallis (played in the film by Mark Stevens), a biochemist working on a secret government project. Chased by terrorists, Dr. Sallis deliberately injects himself with a dangerous serum that turns him into a giant, lumbering plant-like creature. While in the comic books Man-Thing is a heroic, albeit monstrous, protagonist, Leonard’s movie presents it as a vicious monster, murdering people in a Louisiana swamp until the local sheriff Kyle Williams (Matthew Le Nevez) decides to stop him.
7. Curse of the Wolf (2006)
The only thing better than a werewolf is a kung-fu werewolf. In Curse of the Wolf, we follow Dakota (Renee Porada), a werewolf who abandoned her pack to live a normal life. Pack leader Michael (Todd Humes) isn’t too happy about this and sends out his werewolves to find Dakota and force her to return. In response, Dakota joins forces with Logan (Lanny Poffo), an owner of a seedy bar and a local crime lord. It’s werewolves vs. criminals and, for some reason, everyone knows martial arts.
Yet another schlock auteur on our list, Len Kabasinski is a martial artist who produces, writes, directs and often appears in his own movies. Most of them are cheesy b-movie horrors with titles like Swamp Zombies!!! (2005), Fist of the Vampire (2007) and Wendigo: Bound by Blood (2010). Kabasinski’s movies are staggeringly bad, with just about the every aspect of their production made cheaply and by amateurs. Fans of bad cinema should definitely take notice of Len Kabasinski’s opus. Everyone else however, should steer clear.
6. Manborg (2011)
Count Draculon (Adam Brooks) and his army of Nazi vampires conquered Earth during the so-called Hell Wars. An anonymous soldier (Matthew Kennedy) dies fighting the undead warlord only to be revived in the Mega-Death City as Manborg. He soon joins forces with the resistance fighters Justice (Conor Sweeney), his sister Mina (Meredith Sweeney), and #1 Man (Ludwig Lee, voice-dubbed by Kyle Hebert). But will they be powerful enough to stop Count Draculon once and for all?
A low-budget Canadian sci-fi-horror-comedy, Manborg was co-written, produced and directed by Steven Kostanski. Filmed and produced over a period of three years, Manborg premiered at the 2011 Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. Many of the scenes were filmed using chroma key compositing, combining the footage of actors with the CGI-animated backgrounds. Watching Manborg, it’s hard not to draw comparisons with the far more popular 2015 flick Kung Fury.
5. Santa’s Slay (2005)
The good news is that Santa is real. The bad news is that he’s an immortal spawn of Satan. A thousand years ago, Santa lost a bet to an angel and was forced to bring joy to the world each Christmas. But as the end of his servitude approaches, Santa has a plenty of pent up anger to vent.
Santa’s Slay is the perfect cure for everyone tired of the holiday cheer. This violent, over-the-top horror comedy follows Santa (played with glee by the professional wrestler Bill Goldberg) as he goes on a killing spree in a small American town. It’s up to teenager Nicholas Yuleson (Douglas Smith), his girlfriend Mary (Emilie de Ravin), and Nicholas’ crazy grandpa (Robert Culp) to try and stop Santa once and for all. Look out for the small scene of a dysfunctional Jewish family, with cameo roles played by Rebecca Gayheart, Chris Kattan, and Fran Drescher.
4. Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006)
Over the last two decades, the word Troma has become something of a brand: a nasty-looking, infected, puss-oozing brand, but a brand nevertheless. Troma Entertainment has specialized in the horror movies offering plenty of nudity, crude humor, and over-the-top gore. Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead is no exception to this proud tradition.
This horror-comedy-musical was directed in 2006 by Lloyd Kaufman, one of the founders of Troma Entertainment and director of such beloved Troma classics as The Toxic Avenger (1984) and Tromeo and Juliet (1996). Poultrygeist follows Arbie (Jason Yachanin) on his minimum-wage job in a New Jersey fast food restaurant called American Chicken Bunker. As Arbie looks for a way to win back his ex-girlfriend Wendy (Kate Graham), the restaurant – which is built atop a Native American burial ground – finds itself under supernatural attacks by a chicken-possessing demonic spirit.
3. Gingerdead Man (2005)
America’s darling Gary Busey (Lethal Weapon, Predator 2, Under Siege) plays the sweetest mass murderer in history – literally! Millard Findlemeyer (Busey) is a psychopathic mass shooter sentenced to die in the electric chair for his heinous crimes. However, his witch-mother (E. Dee Biddlecome) mixes Millard’s cremated remains with the gingerbread spice mix and sends it to Sarah (Robin Sydney), a young baker who was a key witness against Millard. Soon enough, the crazed killer is revived as a large gingerbread man who exacts revenge against Sarah and her family.
The Gingerdead Man was directed by Charles Band, producer of such B movie classics as Ghoulies (1984), Re-Animator (1985), Trancers (1985), and Puppet Master (1989). The Gingerdead Man came out in 2005 as a straight-to-DVD release. Despite receiving mixed reviews, this horror-comedy proved itself quite popular with the viewers. Two sequels followed: Gingerdead Man 2: Passion of the Crust was released in 2008 and Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver came out in 2011.
2. I Am Here….Now (2009)
Neil Breen is a stone-faced enigma, an auteur of cinematic trash, comparable only to the likes of Tommy Wiseau and Ed Wood. A Las Vegas resident, Breen makes his living as an architect, using his earnings to produce, write, direct, edit, and star in his own movies. So far, he has made three of them: Double Down (2005), I Am Here….Now (2009) and Fateful Findings (2014). The fourth one, Pass-Thru, is scheduled to be released sometime in 2016.
All of Breen’s movies are pretty much the same. They all follow a misunderstood, yet utterly brilliant loner gifted with supernatural powers (always played by Breen) as he battles an ominous yet nebulous government and/or corporate conspiracy. Breen’s movies are like a internet political comment told using the stream of consciousness technique. Breen’s complete lack of filmmaking talent combined with his seemingly straight-faced paranoia and megalomania makes for a rather… unique viewing experience.
1. Rubber (2010)
Rubber is quite possibly the best horror-comedy ever made about a murderous psychokinetic car tire. Robert is an ordinary tire that gains sentience and goes on a murderous rampage. Not content with flattening plastic bottles and tiny animals, Robert develops a telekinetic ability to blow up people’s heads. The tire grows obsessed with a beautiful driver Sheila (Roxane Mesquida) and begins to stalk her while killing her neighbors in a small desert town.
Loved by some and hated by many, Rubber is a bizarre horror-comedy written and directed by the French musician and film maker Quentin Dupieux. At times, his movie seems like a metacommentary on the audience’s expectations. At other times, Rubber is weird just for the sake of weirdness. But then again, that’s the whole point of surrealism. For better or worse, Rubber succeeds in provoking the fans of horror movies the same way transgressions of horror genre provoke the wider audience.
What are your favorite ridiculous B movies? Share them with us in the comments below!