Audiences enjoy great movies, sure, but there is something so appealing about bad movies. Not sure what it is. It isn't that people laugh at bad movies, per se, but with others at bad movies. We laugh at the ridiculousness, at the insanity, at the glimpse we take into the mind of a creator unlike any other.
There are particular bad movies that rise above the ranks. The ridiculous ones. The ones so insane and so bizarre that they become works of art — testaments to insanity.
These ten films are among the best bad movies, yes, but beyond that, they're also unlike anything else you've ever seen. Some are well-known. Others you might've never heard of before. Regardless, here are the best worst films ever made, ranked by their levels of ridiculousness.
10 Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas
This isn't a film you see tossed around a lot on lists of the Best-Worst Films of All Time, and for good reason. It is fairly new. Almost no one has seen it. It deals with religious subject matters. However, for both the content in the film and surrounding it, Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas is arguably one of the most ridiculous films ever made.
Kirk Cameron directs and stars in this docu-drama about him convincing a friend of his that Christmas's materialism is actually a good thing, validated by alien logic. The film looks incredibly polished and incredibly cheap -- the bulk of the action takes place inside a car. While trying to follow Kirk Cameron's argument is in and of itself hilarious, what makes it even funnier is how Kirk Cameron tried to fight his film's low Rotten Tomato score...only to convince critics to actually watch the film. This ended well.
Showgirls was supposed to be Paul Verhoeven's attempt to prove that an NC-17 film can gain critical acclaim. It didn't work. Showgirls was laughed out of theaters, and, since then, has become something of a cult classic.
While the film has defenders of its merits, many can't argue that the film is absolutely ridiculous. Dialogue is laughable, scenes are so over-the-top they border on parody, and, in its uncut version, has some pretty extreme moments. It's telling that the film has garnered such a cult classic status that many critics have re-evaulated the film as brilliant satire.
Paul Verhoeven should be proud that he has yet another film to add to his terrific filmography. It's just probably not great for the reasons he intended.
8 Jason X
The Friday the 13th franchise ranks among the longest horror franchises out there. While its entries range from entertaining to dull, Jason X, the tenth entry in the franchise, was critically blasted upon release. But if you look on lists ranking the franchise, a lot of people rank it as among their favorites in the franchise.
Not because Jason X is good, mind you. Jason goes to space and kills teenagers on a space field trip. Every silly sci-fi trope is employed in this slasher. But the highlight of the film? The liquid nitrogen kill -- arguably the greatest, most ridiculous kill in the entire Friday the 13th franchise.
7 Masters of the Universe
For years, Hollywood has been trying to adapt classic 80s cartoons into live action. However, this gem might be the best adaptation of an 80s cartoon around. Not because it's a particularly clever film — actually, far from it. It's hilariously bad.
Frank Langella often claimed his favorite role in his acclaimed filmography was playing Skeletor in Masters of the Universe, if only because he got to be as over the top as he wanted. The whole film is that way — over the top, excessive. Even when the budget couldn't realize the fantastic visuals they saught to create, they tried. It doesn't look realistic, but it's really, really endearing.
What makes Masters of the Universe work rather than other bad fantasy movies (like Batman and Robin or Dungeons & Dragons) is that you feel like the people involved were trying to make something good. They're certainly having a good time making this ridiculous terri-bad movie.
6 The Wicker Man
In the 70s, a horror film called The Wicker Man came out. It is commonly regarded as one of the greatest British horror films ever made. It's also been completely eclipsed by this Nicolas Cage-starring remake that features Cage karate-kicking women, decking people in the jaw while wearing a bear suit, screaming about burned dolls, and, of course, opening his mouth for a jar full of bees to fly right in.
The Wicker Man remake is a terrible movie that's so ridiculous it overshadows the original — which itself was pretty weird and ridiculous. The last half-hour of this film is unadulterated insanity that needs to be seen in context to be believed. Cage has done some amazing films, but arguably...this is Cage at his cagiest. Also worth watching if you need a Cage fix: The Vampire's Kiss, Face/Off, Con-Air, and, most recently, Mandy (though all these films are actually pretty good).
Congo is another overlooked so-bad-it's-good film that has sadly become overlooked in the canon of Best Worst Movies. It's certainly ridiculous. Frank Marshall and Michael Crichton team up to tell the story of a safari to an obscure part of Africa, featuring talking apes, insane dialogue, and some of the best cult actors of the 80s and 90s.
Seriously, what other film can you think of that includes Bruce Campbell, Tim Curry, Ernie Hudson, and dozens of gorillas voiced by Frank Welker? Perhaps the silliest aspect? The army of men in gorilla suits facing grizzly demises...and the sesame cake scene.
4 Troll 2
Troll 2 is so ridiculous, a documentary about it exists called Best Worst Movie. While the film doesn't top this list, it's definitely a contender. It is one of the most bizarre films ever made, and, despite many people knowing some of the lines verbatim, most people don't really know the film's plot. Allow me to pitch this film to me.
There are no trolls in Troll 2. The villains are vegetarian goblins who turn people into vegetables so they can eat them. We know this because the main character's ghost-grandpa exposits this to us in the beginning of the film. The kid's family is taking part in a house-exchange program where they switch place with another family. This other family lives in a town called Nilbog. If you can't tell why this is a stupid idea, please, read that town name backwards.
Get it yet? Good.
The film features bad goblin costumes, illogical sequences, terrible acting...which adds up to a hypnotic, bewildering, amazing film.
3 Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky
Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky is a martial arts film about a prison. This in theory doesn't sound too strange. There are tons of bad martial arts films, but the entertainment value of these films tends to be how good the fights are.
Riki-Oh is no exception. Only difference is its fights are so over-the-top and ridiculous they need to be seen to be believed. While many ridiculous bad movies feature over-the-top scenes, few if any contain cartoon logic like this. Some might be put off by the extreme gore at first, but when someone gets split open, then uses their intestines as a make-shift weapon, it's hard to take the gore all that seriously.
2 The Room
Another movie so bad there's another, far more successful film about it (The Disaster Artist), The Room is a bewildering attempt by enigmatic filmmaker Tommy Wisseau to make a great American drama -- only for that film to turn out so bad Wisseau rebrands it as a dark comedy.
Sure, The Room isn't as ridiculous on the surface as Troll 2 or Riki-Oh, but what makes The Room so incredibly ridiculous is how surreal it all feels. It's just off. The acting, scenes, writing -- they're just off enough to be ridiculously funny, but also weirdly alien. There's this awkward oddness to the movie that makes scenes that otherwise would be unremarkable absolutely hilarious. Scenes go nowhere. Creative decisions make no sense. Repetitious dialogue and sequences.
The Room is a masterpiece of bad cinema. It's almost the best one here. But there's one bad movie more ridiculous than The Room...by a lot.
1 Plan 9 From Outer Space
Before Tommy Wisseau, there was Ed Wood -- an ambitious filmmaker who got to work with his childhood heroes and create some of the most unforgettable films ever made. He is so unforgettable that an award winning film was made based on his life (Ed Wood). Several of his films could have been put here — Glen or Glenda and Bride of the Monster stand out — but if we had to choose one, it's Plan 9 From Outer Space.
The film, in theory, should work. Like another sci-fi film released around the same time (The Day the Earth Stood Still), it features aliens coming down to Earth to warn humanity that it has the potential to destroy life on a mass scale. The only difference is the aliens in Plan 9 are so fed up with mankind ignoring them they decide to bring the dead back to life — starting with the recently deceased Bela Lugosi. Plan 9 features terrible sets, acting, and directing. But what makes it so great is the sheer passion for story telling infused in every frame.