10 So-Bad-They're-Good Movies for Your Next Movie Night
They might not win any Oscars, but they're guaranteed to give you an unforgettable movie night of going all 'What the hell did I just watch?'.
1. Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010)
What do you get when you combine non-existent budget, questionable special effects, wooden acting, and birds attacking for... well, some reason? The answer is the inexplicably charming Birdemic: Shock and Terror. This James Nguyen directorial venture has a shockingly low Rotten Tomatoes rating of 18%, and the box office collection was barely a whisper at $10,000. Yet, it has become a cult classic for its unintentionally hilarious plot and questionable production quality.
The story involves a sudden attack by killer birds, which seems to be an analogy for global warming. The film features actors you've probably never heard of, but their earnest performances amid the chaotic plot actually kind of add to its charm.
2. Troll 2 (1990)
Before you ask, no, there's no Troll 1. This horror-comedy directed by Claudio Fragasso has no relation to the previous Troll movie. In fact, it doesn't even feature any trolls. The film revolves around a family that finds themselves in a town populated by goblins who want to turn them into plants and eat them (vegan goblins, anyone?). The plot, the acting, the dialogue – everything is so staggeringly awful that it becomes mesmerizing. Its Rotten Tomatoes score of 5% attests to its badness, but it's also what makes it an absolute riot to watch.
3. The Apple (1980)
The Apple is a sci-fi musical about a dystopian future controlled by a music corporation. Yes, you read that right. A sci-fi musical about a dystopian future. The plot is as convoluted as it sounds, filled with biblical references, spontaneous musical numbers, and sequined costumes. Directed by Menahem Golan, this film managed to garner a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 27%. Despite its laughable execution, the sheer audacity of its vision makes it a must-watch. You'll end up humming some of the tunes, and you might just love how unapologetically weird it is.
4. Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)
Often hailed as the worst movie ever made, Plan 9 From Outer Space has a certain charm that has endured for decades. Directed by Edward D. Wood Jr., the film features an alien invasion plot to prevent humans from creating a doomsday weapon. The acting is hilariously stiff, the special effects are laughable, and the script is downright bizarre. With a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 66%, it shows that this film has found its audience, albeit for reasons that the filmmakers might not have intended. This one's a classic in the so-bad-it's-good genre.
5. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)
Yes, this movie exists. And yes, it's exactly as ridiculous as it sounds. The title alone should be enough to give you an idea of what you're in for. The story follows Martians who kidnap Santa Claus because there's nobody on Mars to give their Martian children presents. If that plot doesn't scream 'cinematic masterpiece', I don't know what does. Directed by Nicholas Webster, this film has a 25% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The sheer absurdity of the story and the over-the-top acting make it a fun watch, especially around Christmas time.
6. The Happening (2008)
This M. Night Shyamalan-directed film sees Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel attempt to survive an environmental catastrophe. The culprit? Plants releasing a toxin that drives people to suicide. Despite the star-studded cast and the initially promising plot, the film devolved into unintentional comedy due to melodramatic performances and a less than subtle environmental message.
Earning a mere 18% on Rotten Tomatoes, The Happening is a cinematic marvel in how not to deliver a horror thriller. Still, it's hilarious to watch, particularly for Wahlberg's bewildered expression throughout.
7. Battlefield Earth (2000)
John Travolta's passion project, based on a novel by L. Ron Hubbard, has earned a legendary status in the annals of bad cinema. Set in a future where Earth has been taken over by alien Psychlos, Travolta dons dreadlocks and platform shoes to play the evil Terl.
This film, directed by Roger Christian, bombed at the box office and was panned by critics, earning a spectacularly low 3% on Rotten Tomatoes. But its convoluted plot, over-the-top acting, and excessive use of Dutch angles make it a captivating watch, in the most perplexing way.
8. Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966)
Created by a Texas fertilizer salesman, Manos: The Hands of Fate is a mesmerizingly bad horror movie. The plot involves a vacationing family stumbling upon a bizarre cult. Made on a shoestring budget, the film is filled with continuity errors, unintentionally hilarious dialogue, and a hauntingly strange character known as Torgo. While it holds a 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it has gained cult status for its earnest yet utterly flawed attempt at creating a horror film.
9. Leonard Part 6 (1987)
Featuring Bill Cosby as an ex-spy battling evil vegetarians, Leonard Part 6 is a film that needs to be seen to be believed. This film boasts of a convoluted plot involving mind-controlling lobsters, killer bunnies, and an ostrich-riding hero. Despite having a well-known leading man, the film was a commercial and critical disaster, earning a 6% score on Rotten Tomatoes. However, its off-the-wall humor and absurd plot twists make it a hilariously entertaining watch.
10. Mac and Me (1988)
An unabashed E.T. rip-off, Mac and Me is infamous for its product placements and bizarre narrative choices. It tells the story of a boy who befriends an alien named MAC (Mysterious Alien Creature). What's most memorable is the film's unexpected and surreal dance sequence in a McDonald's.
The film was a box office flop and has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 7%. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, Mac and Me has become a cult classic. Its earnest attempt to recreate the magic of E.T. and its hilariously obvious product placements make it a staple in the so-bad-it's-good category.