Worst Movies of All Time
There’s nothing like sitting down to enjoy a great movie. But there’s also nothing like sitting down to experience a truly bad movie. Since 1929, when the Academy Awards were created, we’ve been celebrating the "best" films ever made. But what about the best worst movies ever made?
They are the movies that are so bad they’re good. They could be obscure B-movies with atrocious plots and worse production values. They could be blockbuster hits which made bank but left their integrity and competency on the cutting-room floor. Or they could be just plain awful.
A good schlockfest can bring as much joy as some Oscar winners, and many bad movies are worth a watch. But only when you’re in the right mood for murderous television sets, women-stealing dummies, beds that eat people, and more mad scientists and gorilla suits than you can shake a rubber gun at.
So welcome to the reverse Academy Awards. Here are the worst movies from every year since 1929.
1929: The Great Gabbo
Director: James Cruze
Starring: Erich von Stroheim, Betty Compson, Donald Douglas
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'The Great Gabbo'
"[T]he story is slim, predictable, and stiffly done — padded out by lots of big and unintentionally hilarious musical numbers. A curio for film buffs." — TCM
Why 'The Great Gabbo' Is the Worst
Gabbo, Gabbo, Gabbo! "Simpsons" fans might notice a familiar name in the title. The episode "Krusty Gets Kancelled" is inspired by this movie (or possibly "The Rival Dummy," the story on which the film is based). "The Great Gabbo" is an odd little movie about a ventriloquist named Gabbo and his obsession with his doll, Otto. Plus, there are random musical scenes.
During the film, Gabbo finds a love interest, Mary, but he refuses to leave Otto at home, taking him to dinner and everywhere else. Mary, not wanting to live with a manchild, leaves Gabbo. But Gabbo is still in love with Mary and declares his love for her in the dressing room.
Mary isn’t interested in the great Gabbo, though. She’s interested in the wooden doll with the pageboy haircut. "Don’t hurt your little nose again, Otto," she tells the doll, stroking the tip of its wooden nose. "I loved you. I think I always have. And I think I always will."
After Mary leaves, Gabbo punches Otto in the face, apologizes, interrupts the musical number on stage, screams at the audience and is fired.
We’ve been making bad movies for a really, really long time.
1930: Moby Dick
Director: Lloyd Bacon
Starring: John Barrymore, Joan Bennett, Lloyd Hughes, Noble Johnson
Box office: $797,000
What Reviewers Said About 'Moby Dick'
"Overall a fairly good film, and props to Barrymore for a great performance but ... it's not 'Moby Dick.'" — Letterboxd user review
"Lloyd Bacon's 'Moby Dick' is still strangely watchable. Perhaps it's Barrymore's bizarre take of the character …" — Cinema Sentries
Why 'Moby Dick' Is the Worst
You know how the entire story of Herman Melville’s "Moby Dick" hinges on the plot of Captain Ahab and his relentless pursuit of the white whale, and his inability to let his soul rest? And how this maniacal quest costs him his life and nearly his entire crew?
Yeah, none of that happens in Lloyd Bacon’s "Moby Dick." In the end, Ahab (John Barrymore) kills Moby Dick, the crew boils his blubber, and everyone heads home happy — including Ahab, who goes home to his wife.
Here’s how Cinema Sentries describes the ending scene: "[N[othing compares to the surreal finale, which switches back and forth between miniatures in a pool, a lifesize papier mache monstrosity with Ahab atop of it, and close-up shots of Barrymore being sprayed with fake blood as his tortured character successfully vanquishes his demons!"
At least it’s only 80 minutes.
1931: Trader Horn
Director: W.S. Van Dyke
Starring: Harry Carey, Edwina Booth, Duncan Renaldo
Budget: $1.3 million
Box office: $4.2 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Trader Horn'
"By today's standards, Van Dyke's jungle adventure contains both racist and sexist elements, but at the time it was a stirring picture due to on-location shooting." — Emanuel Levy
"The picture is a magnificent record of wildlife in Central Africa, abounding in thrilling episodes and in scenic splendors." — The Nation
"At over two hours, the movie is a lousy combination. With the introduction of sound, the filmmakers are happy to pad the film out with what is essentially a full hour of documentary footage clumsily combined with actors." — Pre-Code
Why 'Trader Horn' Is the Worst
"Trader Horn" must have been amazing when it first came out. It was essentially a firsthand look at the wild of Africa, its people and its animals. But boy, did it not age well
First, there’s all the racism (one actor calls the natives "happy, ignorant children"). Then there’s the scene where a lion is speared and dies on camera. And behind the scenes, two crew members died. A crocodile ate one, and a rhino killed another. Many of the cast and crew also contracted malaria or other tropical diseases.
The film ended the career of co-star Edwina Booth, who contracted malaria or schistosomiasis, likely because she was required to be scantily clad during the film. She sued MGM for a million dollars. The studio settled out of court for $35,000. Her career never recovered, and she withdrew from public life.
Director: William J. Cowen
Starring: Walter Huston, Lupe Velez, Conrad Nagel, Virginia Bruce
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'Kongo'
"Basically, it's trashy stuff — but it's choice trashy stuff. Plus, it's all the more alluring because it came from MGM — the bastion of middle class morality." — Mountain Xpress
"Leeches, slime, 'filthy natives,' human sacrifice, Virginia Bruce's briefly exposed right breast — 'Kongo' lacks the artistry and novelty of 'Freaks,' MGM's other 1932 pre-code shocker, but it makes up for it in sheer sleazy chutzpah." — Commercial Appeal
Why 'Kongo' Is the Worst
"Kongo" is a remake of "West of Zanzibar," a silent film from 1928. It’s a melodrama horror film about a psychotic paraplegic named "Deadlegs" Flint, whose entire existence hinges on getting revenge on Gregg, the man who broke his spine and stole his wife. Sometimes, Flint gives the Congolese natives kerosene instead of liquor. He’s an evil SOB.
Flint steals Gregg’s daughter, a beautiful virgin who has been living in a convent for many years, brutalizes her and turns her into a sex slave. Finally confronting Gregg at the end and revealing what he has done, Gregg gets the last laugh (spoilers) — the girl isn’t his daughter, it’s Flint’s.
It’s a grizzly, grimy movie. Bizarrely, according to Pre-Code, the film actually wants the viewer to sympathize with Flint.
1933: Tarzan the Fearless
Director: Robert F. Hall
Starring: Buster Crabbe, Jacqueline Wells, E. Alyn Warren, Mischa Auer
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'Tarzan the Fearless'
"If Mr Burroughs' Tarzan books are not beyond the reach of an eight-year-old mind, the movie versions of them may be said to reduce the age limit by three or four years. In fact, even an intelligent child may find something embarrassing in the manner in which an unfortunate young athlete named Buster Crabbe is required to jump from tree to tree, caress synthetic Hollywood apes, and make hideously inhuman noises." — The Nation
Why 'Tarzan the Fearless' Is the Worst
"Tarzan the Fearless" is a feature film created from the first four of 12 serials. However, the editing job was so terrible that entire scenes lacked dialogue.
The film was "almost devoid of music" and what music did appear happened to be scores taken from old Westerns, according to "The Great Movie Serials" by Jim Harmon.
Stock footage of distant animals was also used, and the classic Tarzan yell was ripped from the James Pierce radio version.
As a final crowning achievement, theaters were supposed to play the next eight serials as follow-ups, but many theatres simply showed "Tarzan the Fearless" as a standalone film, which understandably confused audiences.
Director: Dwain Esper
Starring: William Woods, Horace B. Carpenter, Maria Altura
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'Maniac'
"A true trash masterpiece." — eFilmCritic
"A truly wretched film that I enjoyed, partly because of and partly in spite of its excessive excrescence." — Goatdog’s Movies
"[A]lmost every single actor in this film overdoes it to the point that even William Shatner would think they needed to tone it down." — Horror News
"Although in many films it is a treat to spot the cast member who overacts, in this film every cast member adopts the most exaggerated performance." — Classic Horror
Why 'Maniac' Is the Worst
"Maniac” is a bizarre movie from 1934 that is now an obscure cult favorite. The plot makes no sense — a lab assistant kills a mad scientist doctor, then tries to take over his life. His first job as the mad scientist is to cure a man who believes himself to be an orangutan from "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" by Edgar Allen Poe. He injects him with water, which produces this scene.
As the fake mad scientist slowly goes mad, he takes the real (now dead) mad scientist’s cat, Satan, gouges out one of its eyes, eats it, and proclaims: "Why, it is not unlike an oyster or a grape, but the gleam is gone!"
"Maniac" also includes scenes of naked women, which was highly unusual for the time and makes it one of the first B-movie horror sex movies ever made, if not the first. When the movie failed to make enough money it was released under the title "Sex Maniac," to garner attention and sales. It's absolutely terrible and absolutely worth a watch.
1935: Murder By Television
Director: Clifford Sanforth
Starring: Bela Lugosi, June Collyer, Huntley Gordon, George Meeker
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'Murder By Television'
"The plot, simply put, stinks." — She Blogged by Night
Why 'Murder By Television' Is the Worst
Before televisions were perfected, they were new and curious pieces of technology that lived in large wooden cabinets, with screens as small as our smartphones. Someone in 1935 figured, "Well, maybe TVs can kill?" Bela Lugosi, always game for a bad idea and an even worse movie, was ready to get to work.
A futuristic television is brought to a party and someone winds up dead. The police show up and use a kind of lie detector that can read people’s brains like they were Wi-Fi signals, and announce that no one at the party is capable of murder. The key here is that the lie detector already was at the party because one of the characters is an inventor.
Lugosi then reveals that the lie detector and the new futuristic television’s wavelengths crashed together and somehow, accidentally, created a death ray. Aaaaand, scene!
1936: The Great Ziegfeld
Director: Robert Z. Leonard
Starring: William Powell, Myrna Loy, Luise Rainer
Budget: $2.18 million
Box office: $4.67 million
What Reviewers Said About 'The Great Ziegfeld'
"It's amazingly dull, even with William Powell in the lead and guest appearances by the likes of Ray Bolger and Fanny Brice, so of course it won the Best Picture Oscar for 1936." — Chicago Reader
"An enormous monument to bad taste." — Esquire
"[A] huge inflated gas-blown object." — Graham Greene
Why 'The Great Ziegfeld' Is the Worst
"The Great Ziegfeld" is a semi-biopic musical to showman Florenz Ziegfield Jr. There are extravagant, expensive costumes and sets, trained animals and so many musical numbers. And it’s three hours long.
When it came out, "The Great Ziegfeld" was a huge hit, and even picked up several Oscars.
As time went on, however, many critics revisiting this never-ending film view it as being overly long and ostentatious.
Director: John M. Stahl
Starring: Clark Gable, Myrna Loy, Edna May Oliver, Edmund Gwenn
Budget: $1.52 million
Box office: $1.57 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Parnell'
"Clark Gable is true to his own talent when he strides from the presidential chair in committee room 15 and fells an offending member of the Irish Party with a punch to the jaw. He is untrue to Parnell. That is all that need be said." — The Irish Times
"Would have been better with Chris Parnell." — User review on LetterBoxd
Why 'Parnell" Is the Worst
A biographical film about Charles Stewart Parnell, the charismatic leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party, "Parnell" is known as the worst Clark Gable film ever made.
Gable refused to even try for an Irish accent and opted not to wear a beard. Lambasted by critics, "Parnell" was a huge box-office bomb and lost $637,000 — roughly the equivalent of $11.42 million in today’s money.
Gable was so distraught by the film that he vowed to never do another biopic, and almost did not do "Gone With the Wind."
1938: The Terror of Tiny Town
Director: Sam Newfield
Starring: Billy Curtis, Yvonne Moray, Bat Haines
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'The Terror of Tiny Town'
"[E]xists to service one joke and one joke only, and that’s seeing little people in a seemingly incongruous western setting. ... [A] dull, lifeless mess, running a mere 62 minutes, but all of them so agonizing that the film feels longer than 'Shoah.'" — Flavorwire
Why 'The Terror of Tiny Town' Is the Worst
One day, producer Jedd Buell heard one of his employees make an offhand comment: "If this economy drive keeps on, we’ll be using midgets for actors." And a lightbulb went off in Buell’s head — what if he actually did make an entire movie with little people?
Buell went on to take out ads in newspapers, hiring 60 actors averaging 3-foot-8 in height, according to Flavorwire, and came up with $100,000 to finance the film.
As the publication notes, "The Terror of Tiny Town" only exists to make fun of little people trying to do things that normal-sized people do, like walk through saloon doors. (They walk under them. Isn’t that great?) It’s a notorious piece of camp that actually turned a profit, although how much it made is unknown.
1939: Jamaica Inn
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Charles Laughton, Maureen O’Hara, Leslie Banks, Robert Newton
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'Jamaica Inn'
"By common consent, one of Alfred Hitchcock's poorest and least personal works, though it has some compensations." — Chicago Reader
"Having set his own standards, Alfred Hitchcock must be judged by them; and, by them, his Jamaica Inn is merely journeyman melodrama." — New York Times
Why 'Jamaica Inn' Is the Worst
"Jamaica Inn" is the last movie that Alfred Hitchcock made before he left England for Hollywood. It’s also his worst work.
Charles Laughton demanded that Hitchcok only shoot certain scenes without him while he practiced his role and also demanded an even bigger role in the film.
Hitchock said the movie "was an absurd thing to undertake" due to changes from the source material, the 1936 novel of the same name.
It's supposed to be a thriller, but the viewers are told who the threat is within 20 minutes.
1940: The Ape
Director: William Nigh
Starring: Boris Karloff, Maris Wrixon
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'The Ape'
"Great silly premise with Karloff skinning an ape and wearing the suit, but boring." — Mountain Xpress
"Silly as all the other Boris Karloff mad scientist pics, but just as entertaining." — Ozus’ World Movie Reviews
Why 'The Ape' Is the Worst
This one is extremely odd. Boris Karloff plays scientist Dr. Bernard Adrian, a scientist trying to cure polio. But everything goes to hell when a wild ape breaks into his lab.
The ensuing struggle leads to a dead ape and a broken laboratory. All of the spinal fluid he needed for his cure has been spilled and ruined. What is he to do?
The most sensible thing anyone would do: Skin the ape, wear its skin, and murder townsfolk for their precious, precious spinal fluid.
1941: The Monster and the Girl
Director: Stuart Heisler
Starring: Ellen Drew, Robert Paige, Paul Lukas
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'The Monster and the Girl'
"One of the most schizophrenic films ever to come out of the Paramount 'B' mill." — Rotten Tomatoes
Why 'The Monster and the Girl' Is the Worst
"The Monster and the Girl" is an extremely bizarre horror movie. Scot Webster, our hero, tries to save his sister who has been abducted by a gangster.
During an encounter, one of the henchmen dies, and the murderer throws Webster the gun. This leads to Webster being convicted and then executed — but then a mad scientist saves his brain and transplants it into the body of a gorilla! Then the gorilla suit takes his revenge on the gangsters.
It’s kind of like a superhero movie, only not so super, and with more gorilla suits. Also, the gorilla dies at the end.
1942: The Corpse Vanishes
Director: Wallace Fox
Starring: Bela Lugosi, Luana Walters, Tristram Coffin, Minerva Urecal
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'The Corpse Vanishes'
"It's nonstop boredom and yawns aplenty in this low-key, quasi-thriller." — MST3K
Why 'The Corpse Vanishes' Is the Worst
Bela Lugosi once again graces this list by playing another mad scientist who steals the life from young women and gives it to his aging wife. There’s a dungeon of horrors in his mansion too, including an evil dwarf and a lunatic woman.
"The Corpse Vanishes" gained some popularity when it was riffed on in the first season of "Mystery Science Theater 3000," which is the best way to watch this stinker.
1943: Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man
Director: Roy William Neill
Starring: Lon Chaney, Jr., Ilona Massey, Patric Knowels, Bela Lugosi
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man'
"Pretty much the end of Universal's horror line as a home for even the vaguest kind of serious filmmaking." — Antagony and Ecstasy
"It starts off really well, stalls a little toward the middle, goes bonkers for one really odd musical number, and then derails completely at the end." — Goatdog’s Movies
Why 'Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man' Is the Worst
A battle between two of Universal’s biggest monsters! Expectations were high for this movie, whose title promised a knock-down, drag-out fight between these two legendary nightmares.
Instead, their only fight occurs at the tail end of the movie and lasts two tepid minutes as the monsters flail about before being swept away in a lair-crumbling flood.
Some of the terribleness of "Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man" is due to Bela Lugosi’s health issues, which resulted in Frankenstein’s monster only appearing on screen for a few minutes.
1944: The Big Noise
Director: Malcolm St. Clair
Starring: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Doris Merrick, Arthur Space
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'The Big Noise'
"Once, long ago, it was funny to see them [Laurel and Hardy] joust with wet paint and folding beds. But now it is dull and pathetic. And they don't even seem to care." — The New York Times
"'The Big Noise' is better than its reputation, but given that reputation, it would almost have to be." — Laurel and Hardy Central
Why 'The Big Noise' Is the Worst
An outdated slapstick comedy even for its time starring the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy, "The Big Noise" is about janitors pretending to be detectives who need to transport a bomb to Washington.
This movie is regarded as Laurel and Hardy’s worst effort, and it gained notoriety when it appeared in "The Fifty Worst Films of All Time" by Harry Medved.
1945: Pillow of Death
Director: Wallace Fox
Starring: Lon Chaney, Jr., Brenda Joyce
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'Pillow of Death'
"[T]he script ...[was] apparently written by deinstitutionalized mental patients." — 1000 Misspent Hours
Why 'Pillow of Death' Is the Worst
An Inner Sanctum film that is now almost completely forgotten, "Pillow of Death" may have the least foreboding title of any murder-mystery ever made.
People are found dead from pillow suffocation in “Pillow of Death,” and tensions rise as characters try to find who the murder is. Spoiler: It’s the main character, who believes he can talk to his dead wife.
Someone needs to blend "Pillow of Death" and "Death Bed: The Bed That Eats" for the world’s most non-threatening horror movie monster.
1946: Song of the South
Director: Harve Foster and Wilfred Jackson
Starring: James Baskett, Bobby Driscoll, Luana Patten, Ruth Warrick, Hattie McDaniel
Budget: $2 million
Box office: $3.3 million (initial release)
What Reviewers Said About 'Song of the South'
"This rather mushy combination of animation and live-action remains one of Disney's most controversial efforts." — Time Out
"Apparently the Disney wonder-workers are just a lot of conventional hacks when it comes to telling a story with actors instead of cartoons." — The New York Times
Why 'Song of the South' Is the Worst
"Song of the South" is a movie that Disney will not be releasing on Disney+ anytime soon, if ever.
The movie gained somewhat recent notoriety from its idiotic view on slavery, but even that didn’t go unnoticed when the film was released in 1946.
When it came out, the NAACP derided Disney and the film for its "idyllic master-slave relationship" between its characters, saying that "in an effort neither to offend audiences in the North or South, the production helps to perpetuate a dangerously glorified picture of slavery."
1947: Shoot to Kill
Director: William Berke
Starring: Robert Kent, Luana Walters, Edmund MacDonald
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'Shoot to Kill'
"Generic film noir that's high on enthusiasm but low on everything else. Substandard production, direction and editing make it difficult to watch." — Randy T, Rotten Tomatoes Super Reviewer
"William Berke as the director-producer did not get anything resembling a performance, much less characterization, out of his players." — The New York Times
Why 'Shoot to Kill' Is the Worst
They call them critics for a reason. "Shoot to Kill" holds an astounding 0 percent critical rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
The film noir is about a gangster, a journalist and a corrupt district attorney. It also was known as "Police Reporter."
Let the bad times roll.
1948: The Babe Ruth Story
Director: Roy Del Ruth
Starring: William Bendix, Claire Trevor, Charles Bickford
Budget: $6 million
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'The Babe Ruth Story'
"The 'Plan 9 From Outer Space' of baseball biopics." — Rotten Tomatoes
"[M]uch more the tone of low-grade fiction than it has of biography." — The New York Times
Why 'The Babe Ruth Story' Is the Worst
"The Babe Ruth Story" tells the story of Babe Ruth, just without any of the messy parts — like how he was a legendary drunk and a womanizer. The New York Yankees slugger died in 1948, so it seems this movie was rushed out the door to capitalize on Ruth’s death.
It includes one ridiculous scene where Ruth tells a dying boy that he’s going to hit a home run in an exact spot, and after he does so, the boy will get better.
Ruth hits the shot, and the boy gets better. Yes, in this movie, Babe Ruth is basically an angel who can bring a child back from death’s doorstep with his batting magic.
1949: The Fountainhead
Director: King Vidor
Starring: Gary Cooper, Patricia Neal, Raymond Massey
Budget: $2.375 million
Box office: $2.9 million
What Reviewers Said About 'The Fountainhead'
"[A] complex of bickering and badgering among these cheerless folk." — The New York Times
"[C]old, unemotional, loquacious [and] completely devoted to hammering home the theme that man's personal integrity stands above all law." — Variety
"The most asinine and inept movie that has come out of Hollywood for years." — The New Yorker
Why 'The Fountainhead' Is the Worst
Based on the Ayn Rand book, "The Fountainhead" was lacerated by critics when it first came out because of its long-winded dialogue and selfish philosophical ideals.
However, some modern reviewers now look upon the film favorably.
Rand wrote the script and frequently came on set to make sure no one screwed with her script.
1950: The Flying Saucer
Director: Mikel Conrad
Starring: Mikel Conrad, Pat Garrison
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'The Flying Saucer'
"A film called 'The Flying Saucer' flew into the Rialto yesterday and, except for some nice Alaskan scenery, it can go right on flying, for all we care. In fact, it is such a clumsy item that we doubt if it will go very far, and we hesitate, out of mercy, to fire even a critical shot at it." — The New York Times
Why 'The Flying Saucer' Is the Worst
One of the earlier UFO movies, "The Flying Saucer" is about Russians and Americans trying to find a flying saucer found in Alaska.
It turns out that the saucer was created by an American inventor.
"The Flying Saucer" doesn’t even have aliens.
1951: Bride of the Gorilla
Director: Curt Siodmak
Starring: Barbara Payton, Lon Chaney Jr., Raymond Burr, Tom Conway
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'Bride of the Gorilla'
"A rubber plantation yarn, badly in need of extensive patching and vulcanizing." — Maclean’s Magazine
"[A] magical film where the magic just didn't work." — Ozus’ World Movie Reviews
Why 'Bride of the Gorilla' Is the Worst
Set in the jungles of South America, 'Bride of the Gorilla" is about a plantation manager (Raymond Burr) who kills his boss, hoping for a shot at the old man’s wife.
But a witch curses the murderer with a werewolf-like curse. Only instead of that monster, he turns into a gorilla every night. Although the gorilla only appears at the end of the movie.
"Bride of the Gorilla" was shot in 10 days. It shows.
1952: Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla
Director: William Beaudine
Starring: Bela Lugosi, Duke Mitchell, Sammy Petrillo
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla'
"[M]akes Ed Wood's movies look like 'Gone With the Wind.''' — Martin Landau, who played Bela Lugosi in "Ed Wood"
Why 'Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla' Is the Worst
The two stars of this show, Sammy Petrillo and Duke Mitchell, do imitations of Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin.
The plot centers on a mad scientist (Bela Lugosi) who creates a gorilla out of a monkey.
At the end of the film, Petrillo is shot. During a screening, the real Jerry Lewis is said to have yelled, "Thank God!"
1953: Robot Monster
Director: Phil Tucker
Starring: George Nader, Claudia Barrett, George Barrows
Box office: $1 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Robot Monster'
"One of the most hackneyed, and lowest-budgeted, science-fiction films ever made." — TV Guide
"OK, it''s cheesy, it's stupid, it's cheap, it''s nearly inept, but, by golly, it's a hoot to watch." — Journal and Courier
"A triumph of ineptitude, a bona fide turkey that deserves to be served up on the same table as anything by Ed Wood." — Film4
"Trash nirvana." — Mountain Xpress
Why 'Robot Monster' the Worst
Notoriously low-buck and awful but loads of fun to watch, "Robot Monster" is about Ro-Man, a moon monster sent to wipe out all humans on earth. And he does! Except for eight people who are immune to his super death ray. Plus, there’s a femme fatale whom he has a thing for.
Produced for a measly $16,000, Ro-Man is nothing more than a dude in a gorilla suit wearing a diving helmet with TV antennas glued on. He also speaks in perfect English.
The movie is terrible, but it’s fun. It also made an astounding $1 million at the time, making it one of the most successful low-budget movies ever made.
1954: Jail Bait
Director: Ed Wood
Starring: Timothy Farrell, Dolores Fuller, Clancy Malone, Steve Reeves
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'Jail Bait'
"The tale of a bad seed immersed in that most horrific of crimes, unregistered gun ownership." — AV Club
"This is Wood's attempt to be taken seriously, and he makes this the best film he has ever made." — Ozus’ Movie Reviews
"Better than some Wood films, but somehow less fun." — Mountain Xpress
Why 'Jail Bait' Is the Worst
Billed as "the shocking story of boy-crazy girls and gun-crazy guys" in the film’s trailer, "Jail Bait" is Ed Wood’s attempt at the film noir genre.
Every scene is shot at night, and the movie actually kind of resembles a film, unlike many Wood pictures, but suffers from a lack of unintentional comedy.
"Jail Bait" also includes a performance by Cotton Watts, a stage performer whose claim to fame was performing in blackface, but Woods didn’t even shoot it. The studio cut the scene into the film, for whatever reason.
1955: Bride of the Monster
Director: Ed Wood
Starring: Bela Lugosi, Tor Johnson, Loretta King, Tony McCoy
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'Bride of the Monster'
"Even taking his nonexistent budgets into account, there's no getting around the fact that Wood was simply magnificently untalented — albeit in a glorious way." — Mountain Xpress
"It quickly descends into [Wood's] signature style: few — if any — of the shots match, the acting is atrocious and the dialogue sings with its own unique rhythms of awfulness." — Combustible Celluloid
Why 'Bride of the Monster' Is the Worst
Bela Lugosi, in his last speaking role, stars as a mad scientist bent on creating a new race of supermen. He has a giant brute enforcer (Tor Johnson) and a giant octopus to make sure no one will upset his plans.
The giant octopus is one of the best/worst things about this movie, as it’s not even a puppet — it’s just immobile rubber.
With a $70,000 budget, this is said to be Ed Wood’s most expensive project.
1956: The Conqueror
Director: Dick Powell
Starring: John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Agnes Moorehead
Budget: $6 million
Box office: $9 million-$12 million
What Reviewers Said About 'The Conqueror'
"Howard Hughes' anachronistic saga is one of the worst films ever made with an embarrassing performance of John Wayne as Genghis Khan the Warrior." — EmanuelLevy
"No one comes out of this train wreck holding their head up." — Ozus’ World Movie Reviews
"John Wayne as Genghis Khan — history's most improbable piece of casting unless Mickey Rooney were to play Jesus in 'King of Kings.'" — Los Angeles Times
Why 'The Conqueror' Is the Worst
On its own, this Howard Hughes-financed film is pitiful. John Wayne as Genghis Khan? What the hell were they thinking? He doesn’t even try to affect an accent!
But as atrocious as the film is on screen, it has a tragic backstory. Director Dick Powell shot this film in parts of St. George, Utah, which was about 130 miles downwind from an active nuclear weapons testing facility. The crew spent weeks on location, and to make things worse, Hughes shipped 60 tons of dirt back to Hollywood for on-set filming.
While it hasn’t been conclusively proven, the location is suspected to have given many of the cast and crew cancer. Two-hundred and twenty people worked on "The Conqueror," 91 contracted cancer, and 46 died from the disease as of 1980, according to a People article from that same year. Residents of St. George continue to suffer from cancer that is almost certainly caused by their town’s downwind location.
Wayne died of stomach cancer, although he smoked around four packs a day. A scientist from the Pentagon once said, "Please, God, don’t let us have killed John Wayne."
1957: The Giant Claw
Director: Fred F. Sears
Starring: Jeff Morrow, Mara Corday
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'The Giant Claw'
"[Q]uite possibly the goofiest, silliest, stupidest looking monster to ever grace the silver screen." — Dread Central
"[T]his film boasts one of the all time worst, if not the worst monster I have ever seen in a sci-fi film." — Monster Shack
Why 'The Giant Claw' Is the Worst
Look, up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Wait, it actually is a giant bird, and it’s coming to kill us all.
"The Giant Claw" is a black-and-white horror movie produced by Columbia Pictures, and it’s about a goofy-looking alien bird that came "from some godforsaken antimatter galaxy, millions and millions of light years from the Earth," according to one character.
The greatest thing about this movie is the ridiculous rubber monster, which caws constantly, likes to pick on buildings and takes a full half-hour to be seen.
Until then, it’s just a lot of talking.
1958: The Wild Women of Wongo
Director: James L. Wolcott
Starring: Jean Hawkshaw, Mary Ann Webb, Cande Gerrard, Adrienne Bourbeau
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'The Wild Women of Wongo'
"One of the most bizarre movies I have seen in a long time — and I mean that in a bad way." — Movie-Gurus
"'The ‘Wild Women Of Wongo' is a film that achieves gender equality, in that both men and women give truly terrible performances." — Horror News
Why 'The Wild Women of Wongo' Is the Worst
Set 10,000 years ago, this movie is about a mistake between Mother Nature and Father Time. There are two islands in "The Wild Women of Wongo," an island with ugly men and beautiful women (Wongo), and one with ugly women and beautiful men (Goona).
When the two islands become aware of one another’s existence, the women of Wongo capture the men of Goona and take them as their husbands, thus setting nature back on its correct course: ugly people marry ugly people, beautiful people marry beautiful people.
Also featured in this shoddy flick is a rubber alligator, a talking parrot, and an introductory narration by Mother Nature.
1959: Plan 9 from Outer Space
Director: Ed Wood
Starring: Gregory Walcott, Bela Lugosi, Maila Nurmi, Lyle Talbot
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'Plan 9 from Outer Space'
"Some things are best watched at 3 am, wrapped in the warm glow of drunkenness. 'Plan 9 From Outer Space' is one of them." — SFX Magazine
"[S]taggeringly, unmissably bad." — Shadows on the Wall
"It's mind-numbingly brilliant in its overwhelming, soul-destroying badness." — NeedCoffee
Why 'Plan 9 from Outer Space' the Worst
"Plan 9 from Outer Space" is the epicenter of camp and the reigning champion of terrible movies. It practically invented its own meta-genre of the so-bad-it’s-good movies, which are desperately sought after but are few and far between.
Bela Lugosi appears in this movie only because he died while filming another movie for Ed Wood, who stapled in random scenes to give the movie a star attraction. The gravestones are made of wood. Nothing seems to make sense. If you haven’t seen it yet, do so.
Remember, my friends, future events such as these will affect you in the future.
1960: The Sinister Urge
Director: Ed Wood
Starring: Kenne Dunan, James "Duke" Moore, Conrad Brooks, Carl Anthony
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'The Sinister Urge'
"[F]or as much as 'Plan 9 From Outer Space' is beloved for its faults and strangeness, The Sinister Urge should be shunned for its utter awfulness and complete lack of anything endearing or exciting." — Talking Pulp
"Although it never sinks to the level of Wood's 'Plan 9 from Outer Space,' this film is a treasure trove of unintended hilarity." — TV Guide
Why 'The Sinister Urge' Is the Worst
According to TV Guide, "The Sinister Urge" was shot within four days and written as it was filmed, with predictably Ed Woodsian results.
The movie is about a pair of cops who are out to find the psychopath who kills women involved in the skin flick trade.
It ends with Ed Wood making a cameo, dressed in drag, to lure out the killer.
1961: The Beast of Yucca Flats
Director: Coleman Francis
Starring: Tor Johnson, Barbara Francis, Conrad Brooks
Budget: $34,000 (unverified)
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'The Beast of Yucca Flats'
"Anyone who thinks that Ed Wood was the worst director of all time needs to take a look at the movies of a certain Coleman Francis, a legendary boozer who graduated from acting in bit parts in other bad movies to making his own when nobody would employ him any more." — Worst Movies Ever Made
Why 'The Beast of Yucca Flats' the Worst
A Soviet scientist defects to the American side, but not without notice. KGB agents pursue Joseph Javorsky (played by the near 400-pound Tor Johnson of "Planet 9" fame) through the Nevada desert. Fleeing his captors, he stumbles into a nuclear testing site, where an A-bomb detonates but doesn’t kill him. Instead, it transforms into a beast, who roams the Yucca Flats.
Javorsky kills a few people for the remainder of the film (the movie is only 54 minutes) before being put down by some cops. But before dying, the beast grabs a rabbit and nuzzles it. Then he croaks.
"The Beast of Yucca Flats" is known for its bewildering narration, which doesn’t match what’s happening on screen. And the movie was shot without any sound whatsoever. All audio was added in post, and all lines of dialogue are dubbed.
The film’s director, Coleman Francis, was found dead in the back of a station wagon with a plastic bag over his head and a tube going into his mouth or maybe around his neck. So there’s that.
Director: Nicholas Merriwether (Arch Hall Sr.)
Starring: Richard Kiel, Marilyn Manning, Arch Hall Jr., Arch Hall Sr.
Budget: $15,000 (unverified)
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'Eegah'
"What makes it truly notable is the utter bizarreness of certain scenes." — Aisle Seat
"The first draft nature of the screenplay is betrayed by its repetition." — Battleship Pretension
Why'Eegah' Is the Worst
"Eegah" is an incomprehensible film about a seven-foot-tall prehistoric caveman (played by Richard Keil, who would later play Jaws in the Bond movies).
He turns out to be quite an illiterate lady’s man. During one scene, a woman shaves his face, while Eegah licks the shaving cream like a dog eating Cool Whip.
It’s quite strange. And awful.
1963: The Crawling Hand
Director: Herbert L. Strock
Starring: Peter Breck, Kent Taylor, Rod Lauren, Alan Hale Jr., Allison hayes
Budget: $100,000 (unverified)
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'The Crawling Hand'
'The title says it all, an astronaut's hand is on the loose killing people. This movie is bad, but very funny for the most part, so I kind of enjoyed it anyway." — AJ V, Rotten Tomatoes Super Reviewer
"After a gorgeous title sequence, everything in this low budget teenybopper flick goes downhill. The titular hand makes a few early appearances but then vanishes for half the movie before returning at the conclusion. It was a true missed opportunity." — "Claws and Saucers" author David Goldweber
Why 'The Crawling Hand' Is the Worst
"The Crawling Hand" is about an astronaut whose hand becomes possessed by some otherworldly forces. He radios ground control, desperately asking for help and saying cryptic things about his hand. He crash lands on Earth, a medical student finds the hand laying around and brings it home.
The possessed hand goes about doing some killing and then possesses the med student, which means the crawling hand is no longer in the movie until the conclusion.
Wonderfully terrible B-movie schlock from the 1960s that’s available to find online.
1964: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
Director: Nicholas Webster
Starring: John Call, Pia Zadora, Bill McCutcheon, Leonard Hicks
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'Santa Claus Conquers the Martians'
"Ho ho, oh no." — Rotten Tomatoes
"The plot, such as it is, proves it is possible to insult the intelligence of a three-year-old." —BBC
"Just how incompetent is this picture? Its ineptitude applies even to the opening credits, which lists a 'custume' designer." — Film Frenzy
Why 'Santa Claus Conquers the Martians' the Worst
"Santa Claus Conquers the Martians" is a pretty popular horrible movie.
It’s a science fiction fantasy film that centers on Santa Claus and two Earth children getting kidnapped by Martians because Mars needs a Santa Claus and Martian children need creativity. The ships are cardboard, and the Martians have mustaches.
It’s not worth viewing, but it’s worth watching shows that make fun of it.
1965: Monster a-Go-Go
Director: Bill Rebane
Starring: Henry Hite
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'Monster a-Go-Go'
"One of the most incoherent films ever made." — Ozus’ World Movie Reviews
"No go-go." — Capital Times
"Nonsensical story atrociously acted not with production values not even worthy of a grade school project. Just awful on every level." — Jay N, Rotten Tomatoes Super Reviewer
Why 'Monster a-Go-Go' Is the Worst
Holding an astounding 5 percent audience score rating out of 711 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes is "Monster a-Go-Go," which is about an astronaut-turned-radioactive monster.
A good amount of the plot, or what little there is of it, never happens on screen. Instead, we get a narrator informing us that the monster escaped capture, that the astronaut was actually fine (he wasn’t the monster!), and that the real monster had simply disappeared altogether.
With absolutely no explanation.
1966: Manos: The Hands of Fate
Director: Harold P. Warren
Starring: Tom Neyman, John Reynolds, Harold P. Warren
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'Manos: The Hands of Fate'
"Yes, it's the one, the only, the must-be-seen-to-be-disbelieved 'Manos: The Hands of Fate.'" — Film Frenzy
"Atrocious on every level ... but there is something to say about the fact that it exists, and the drive he [Harold Warren] had to get it made." — ChrisStuckmann.com
Why 'Manos: The Hands of Fate' Is the Worst
Harold P. Warren sold fertilizer and insurance in Texas, but he had dreams of making films.
After scrounging up cash and raising money from family and friends, Warren took his $19,000 and made 'Manos: The Hands of Fate," accomplishing his dream. It ended up being one of the worst movies on Earth, but hey, he did it!
The film was released in 1966, airing only in local theatres, and drifted off into the heap of obscurity until "Mystery Science Theater 3000" featured it in an episode, renewing interest in this disaster of a movie. Since then, "Manos: The Hands of Fate" (which translates to "Hands: The Hands of Fate") has been gleefully watched by movie masochists around the world.
1967: Valley of the Dolls
Director: Mark Robson
Starring: Barbara Parkins, Sharon Tate, Patty Duke, Susan Hayward, Paul Burke, Lee Grant
Budget: $5 million
Box office: $44.43 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Valley of the Dolls'
"Too dull even to function as camp." — Chicago Reader
"It's an unbelievably hackneyed and mawkish mish-mash of backstage plots and Peyton Place adumbrations." — New York Times
Why 'Valley of the Dolls' Is the Worst
"Valley of the Dolls" is about a trio of women who struggle with addiction, romance and other cliched plotlines on their way to fame.
Adapted from Jacqueline Suann's best seller of the same name, the movie's star character is Neely O’Hara, loosely based on Judy Garland's Hollywood experience. Interestingly, Garland was cast to pay Helen Lawson but was rumored to be too inebriated to play the part and was fired from the set.
It’s poorly acted and unintentionally funny, although it was a smash at the box office during its time.
1968: They Saved Hitler’s Brain
Director: David Bradley
Starring: Walter Stocker, Audrey Caire, Carlos Rivas, Marshall Reed
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'They Saved Hitler’s Brain'
"One of the all-time worst. ... [T]he film is so slow, convoluted and so badly acted that it is nearly unwatchable, even with the unintentional comedy value. (The best moments all involve Der Fuehrer's severed noggin, which is only on screen briefly.)" — TV Guide
"Maybe, but they couldn't save the film." — Mountain Xpress
Why 'They Saved Hitler’s Brain' Is the Worst
On many lists devoted to the world’s worst movies is "They Saved Hitler’s Brain," a flick from the 1960s that sounds like it should be awesome schlock but is unbearably bad.
"They Saved Hitler’s Brain" was originally known as the "Madmen of Mandoras," a movie that was 20 minutes shorter and made in 1963. It was later titled the much snappier title and a few more scenes of people driving around and investigating another, non-Hitler’s-brain subplot that goes nowhere, according to DVDTalk.
The film, which can be found for free online, is just completely boring. Hitler’s stupid head only appears for a few scenes and is set ablaze at the end.
1969: The Wonderful Land of Oz
Director: Barry Mahon
Starring: Chandos Castle Mahon, Zisca Baum, George Wadsworth, Gil Fields, Caroline Berner
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'The Wonderful Land of Oz'
"I am rarely surprised or dumbfounded by a movie, and this one did both. This movie is unquestionably bad." — Stomp Tokyo
"[A]fter an opening musical sequence that tries to go for whimsy, but thanks to a badly constructed purple cow (among other things) ends up traumatizing anyone in visual range, we meet a young boy named Tip." — Unclencro
Why 'The Wonderful Land of Oz' Is the Worst
"The Wonderful Land of Oz" was a movie made for so-called "kiddie matinees," a designated time slot in theaters that ran only children’s movies. It is a faithful adaptation of "The Marvelous Land of Oz" by L. Frank Baum, only more terrifying.
The movie, which was lost for some time but is now on YouTube, has a creepy vibe, and the story moves at a snail’s pace.
It’s one oddity of a film.
1970: Hercules in New York
Director: Arthur Allan Seidelman
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Arnold Stang, Ernest Graves, Deborah Loomis
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'Hercules in New York'
"Sheer fever dream madness." — Antagony & Ecstasy
Why 'Hercules in New York' Is the Worst
"Hercules in New York" is the first feature film that Arnold Schwarzenegger (billed here as Arnold Strong) ever appeared in. Playing Hercules, the son of Zeus finds himself in New York City after an errant thunderbolt.
There, he meets a man named Pretzie, because he runs a pretzel stand. During this time, Hercules tussles with gangsters, has some zany experiences, and winds up in hell before the gods call him back home.
The worst thing about this film is that Schwarzenegger’s voice is dubbed over, as the filmmakers believed his Australian accent was too heavy to understand. So you don’t really get to see the 22-year-old future governor of California in his first role — unless you buy the DVD, which has Ahnold’s original voice track as an extra.
Of course, then you would have to spend money on "Hercules in New York."
Director: Don Barton
Starring: Marshall Grauer
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'Zaat'
"This spectacularly awful quasi-revision of 'The Creature From the Black Lagoon' features a laugh out loud horrible monster, equally hideous 'acting' and a sort of cut rate ethos that makes the oeuvre of Ed Wood, Jr., seem positively glamorous by comparison." — Blu-ray.com
Why 'Zaat' the Worst
Often cited as one of the worst films ever made, "Zaat" is about a mad scientist who turns himself into a fish monster ("Nothing at all like a catfish," he notes in the mirror. "But beautiful."). And he's hell-bent on murdering those who laughed at his work.
The effects are horrible enough that the monster’s sneakers can be seen in the Blu-ray release of the film. Because of the wider aspect ratio, but still.
It’s a bad movie lover’s dream movie.
1972: Night of the Lepus
Director: William F. Claxton
Starring: Stuart Whitman, Janet Leigh, Rory Calhoun
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'Night of the Lepus'
“Impossible not to admire the total withholding of irony in Claxton's approach to this kamikaze project.” - Time Out
“It's not bad enough to be funny but it's ridiculous enough in its very existence that maybe it would have been better if it had actually tried to be comedic. Which serves as a reminder, should you need it, that ‘Tremors’ is pretty much a perfect movie.” - Battleship Pretension.
Why 'Night of the Lepus' Is the Worst
"Night of the Lepus" is about giant, killer, and very adorable bunnies.
The filmmaker shot this movie dead serious as a horror film and used actual rabbits on tiny dollhouse sets to recreate the "giant" effect. Except those bunnies look very cute, and not like the bloodthirsty monsters that William Claxton so deeply wanted them to be.
The end of the film features a dozen people with guns firing into a charging line of re-directed bunnies, which are also electrocuted.
Seriously, why rabbits?
1973: Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Director: Hall Barlett
Starring: James Franciscus, Juliet Mills, Hal Holbrook
Budget: $1.5 million
Box office: $1.6 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Jonathan Livingston Seagull'
"This has got to be the biggest pseudocultural, would-be metaphysical ripoff of the year." — RogerEbert.com
"Religious symbolism is heaped on top of Hallmark greeting card profundity." — Los Angeles Free Press
"The cinematic equivalent of that girl you might have met circa 1973 who insisted that the dog that just evacuated his bowels on your sidewalk was 'expressing his creativity.'" — Mountain X
Why 'Jonathan Livingston Seagull' Is the Worst
It’s two hours of a seagull learning to fly and believe in himself with superimposed human dialogue.
The entire movie is set to a Neil Diamond soundtrack.
It’s not an inspirational film. It’s a horror movie in disguise.
Director: John Boorman
Starring: Sean Connery, Charlotte Rampling, Sara Kestelman, John Alderton
Budget: $1 million
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'Zardoz'
"[Zardoz] demonstrates how one can make a cheap sci-fi flick look like a cheap sci-fi flick by using mirrors and prisms as substitutes for imagination." — Vulture
"Such a wildly ambitious misfire that you can't help but root for it, or at least feel some twisted sense of affection for it." — ChristyLemire.com
"[T]he movie is an exercise in self-indulgence (if often an interesting one) by Boorman, who more or less had carte blanche to do a personal project after his immensely successful 'Deliverance.'" — RogerEbert.com
Why 'Zardoz' Is the Worst
A low-buck sci-fi flick starring Sean Connery in red spaceman hosiery, "Zardoz" is a notoriously strange film from "Deliverance" director John Boorman. For those wondering why Connery did this film, the actor had just finished up his run as James Bond and was having difficulty finding work, according to Boorman. He was paid $200,000 for his role.
As a plot, "Zardoz" takes place in a post-apocalyptic Earth that’s ruled by immortal creatures called Eternals, who have enslaved mortal men and women, called Brutals. Brutal Exterminators, of which Connery is one, are there to keep the Brutals in check at the behest of the flying stone head called Zardoz.
Terrible, but worth a watch.
1975: The Giant Spider Invasion
Director: Bill Rebane
Starring: Steve Brodie, Robert Easton, Barbara Hale, Alan Hale Jr., Leslie Parish
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'The Giant Spider Invasion'
"Filled with unintentional humor." — Ozus’ World Movie Reviews
"The giant monster spiders (which take FOREVER to finally show up) look like something your kid would make for a grade 4 science project." — Cindy I, Rotten Tomatoes Super Reviewer
Why 'The Giant Spider Invasion' Is the Worst
There’s only one truly giant spider in "The Giant Spider Invasion" (which, to be fair, only uses the singular form), and it's a car covered in fur with big fake legs.
While the film was comically bad and the special effects added to its unintentional humor, director Bill Rebane claimed it made around $15 million during the life of the film, although he hasn’t seen any of that money.
"It doesn’t feel good. The worst part is that it became one of the most pirated movies in history," Rebane said.
We’re not sure how he came up with that tidbit, either.
1976: Bloodsucking Freaks
Director: Joel M. Reed
Starring: Seamus O’Brien, Luis De Jesus’ Viju Krem
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'Bloodsucking Freaks'
"Freaks isn't much of a movie, but it does retain an eye-popping sense of violence, brazen in its contempt for women and disregard for human life." — Blu-ray.com
"If you enjoy watching this movie, I honestly don't want to know you." — eFilmCritic
"Exists in that disconcerting crossroads of loathsome exploitation and annihilating art." — Cinepassion
Why 'Bloodsucking Freaks' Is the Worst
Somewhat notorious for its sheer brutal violence, "Bloodsucking Freaks" is a splatterfest exploitation film of wall-to-wall torture and naked women. That’s pretty much it.
Its tagline is "The show that will make anyone wretch!"
So at least they knew what they were going for.
1977: Death Bed: The Bed That Eats
Director: George Barry
Starring: Demen Hall, William Russ, Linda Bond
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'Death Bed: The Bed That Eats'
"This movie is like what would happen if they paid Yoko Ono & Bjork to co-create the world's longest and most cacophonous Fanta commercial." — Something Awful
Why 'Death Bed: The Bed That Eats' Is the Worst
"Death Bed: The Bed That Eats" is quite literally about a bed that eats people. The film, financed for a total of about $30,000, took the film’s creator, George Barry, five years to make. But when it was finished, he couldn’t afford to get the film distributed and so the movie never made it to market.
Or so he thought. The interested distribution company had pirated a copy of his movie, and for over 20 years, "Death Bed" had very quietly become an ultra-obscure cult film. (More about the movie’s history can be read on author Stephen Thrower’s Amazon review of the film.)
While the film is really weird, it’s also really bad. But worth watching with the right crowd.
1978: The Swarm
Director: Irwin Allen
Starring: Michael Caine, Katharine Ross, Richard Widmark, Richard Chamberlain
Budget: $12-$21 million million
Box office: $11.5 million
What Reviewers Said About 'The Swarm'
"A number of journalists, rolling in the aisles with laughter, were ejected from the press screening." — Time Out
"Killer bees periodically interrupt the arch writing, stilted direction and ludicrous acting in Irwin Allen's disappointing and tired non-thriller." — Variety
"Mr. Allen might just as well have devoted his talents to man-eating goldfish, poodles on the rampage or carnivorous canaries." — The New York Times
Why 'The Swarm' Is the Worst
“The Swarm” is a disaster horror film about an invasion of killer bees. The bees swarm trains, derailing them. They swarm helicopters, sending them from the sky to the earth below. They destroy a nuclear power plant and wipe out an entire town. These bees are some bad motherstingers, and they’re ready to destroy the human population, starting with Texas.
The budget, swollen bigger than a bee sting, includes an all-star cast and 800,000 bees which had their stingers removed and were cared for by over 100 people. The American Bee Association considered suing the film for “defaming the American honeybee” but no evidence of an actual lawsuit exists, according to AFI.
As a movie, it’s terrible, but at least it’s bad enough to be kinda good.
Director: Tinto Brass and Bob Guccione
Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Teresa Ann Savoy, Helen Mirren, Peter O’Toole, John Gielgud
Budget: $17.5 million
Box office: $23.4 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Caligula'
"'Caligula' is sickening, utterly worthless, shameful trash. If it is not the worst film I have ever seen, that makes it all the more shameful: People with talent allowed themselves to participate in this travesty." — RogerEbert.com
"For sheer camp RBI, this Tinto Brass-Bob Guccione freak is the World Series played, won, and paraded." — Village Voice
Why 'Caligula' Is the Worst
"Caligula" is notorious for the sheer amount of sex scenes and its dismal plot. The film’s producer and second director, Bob Guccione, founded Penthouse magazine. He also put up the movie’s entire $17.5 million budget.
The script, commissioned from Gore Vidal for over $200,000, was completely changed in order to make it cheaper and, well, more full of sex scenes.
Vidal disowned anything to do with this movie and, due to ongoing arguments, had his name removed from the film.
1980: Heaven’s Gate
Director: Michael Cimino
Starring: Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, John Hurt, Jeff Bridges, Sam Waterson
Budget: $44 million
Box office: $3.5 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Heaven’s Gate'
"Neither Kris Kristofferson nor Christopher Walken, both of them fine actors, can prevail against the relentless scale and movement of the production." — The Spectator
"A bold and engrossing saga let down by controversy and scandal, yet buoyed by Cimino's uncompromising and far reaching vision." — Matt’s Movie Reviews
Why 'Heaven’s Gate' Is the Worst
The terribleness of this movie isn’t as clear-cut as every other movie on this list. Depending on whom you ask, "Heaven’s Gate" might be on someone else’s list of greatest films.
It’s a strange film. Accused at the time for being overly long and overly indulgent, "Heaven’s Gate" was one of the biggest box-office bombs in history and lost $135 million in inflation-adjusted dollars.
The budget spiraled out of control, with director Michael Cimino (of "Deer Hunter" fame) requiring absurdly specific scenes, to be done in the most expensive way possible. For example, he set up an irrigation system so fresh grass would grow for the movie’s battle scene and had his staff take six weeks to learn roller skating for one simple scene.
Since the 1980s, "Heaven’s Gate" has been re-evaluated, and some consider it a masterpiece.
Director: Terrance Young
Starring: Laurence Oliver, Jacqueline Bisset, Ben Gazzara
Budget: $46 million
Box office: $5.4 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Inchon'
"'Inchon' is a hysterical historical epic, somewhat less offensive than 'The Green Berets' and far funnier." — The New York Times
"One of the worst films of all time." — TV Guide
"Unintentionally laughable." — Variety
Why 'Inchon' Is the Worst
Financed by the Unification Church — aka the Moonies cult — "Ichon" was a massive box-office bomb and is considered one of the worst movies ever made and the worst war movie, period.
It’s an epic war film about the Battle of Inchon during the Korean War, yet despite its $46 million budget, the movie has some shockingly low production values. In one scene, cardboard cutouts of fighter planes are held up by visible strings.
And it’s 240 minutes long.
1982: Grease 2
Director: Patricia Birch
Starring: Maxwell Caulfield, Michelle Pfeiffer, Adrian Zmed, Lorna Luft
Budget: $11.2 million
Box office: $15.2 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Grease 2'
"Aimless and horribly dull, with its vigorous group dances failing to compensate for the insipid songs." — Alternate Ending
"This movie just recycles Grease, without the stars, without the energy, without the freshness and without the grease." — RogerEbert.com
"As a sequel to 'Grease' it's terrible, and as a musical on its own merits, it's absolutely abysmal." — Cinema Crazed
“Aimless and horribly dull, with its vigorous group dances failing to compensate for the insipid songs.” - Alternate Ending
“This movie just recycles 'Grease,' without the stars, without the energy, without the freshness and without the grease.” - RogerEbert.com
“As a sequel to 'Grease' it's terrible, and as a musical on its own merits, it's absolutely abysmal.” - Cinema Crazed
Why 'Grease 2' Is the Worst
"Grease 2" is a retread of what people liked about "Grease," but without the charm, character or general freshness that made "Grease" popular.
Forgetful songs, lackluster characters and an all-around terrible execution make this a loathsome film to have to sit through.
Other than that, it's a great experience.
1983: Amityville 3-D
Director: Richard Fleischer
Starring: Tony Roberts, Tess Harper, Lori Loughlin, Meg Ryan, Candy Clark
Budget: $6 million
Box office: $6.33 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Amityville 3-D'
"To pad things out, characters argue over story-lines from previous Amityville movies, while for 3-D purposes, wasps, furniture and minor players are hurled in our direction at varying intervals." — Time Out
"No longer a haunted house movie at all, but simply a collection of crummy shock scenes with absolutely no shock." — Alternate Ending
"A quickie cash-in on both the early '80s revitalized 3-D craze and the success of the previous two 'Amityville' films." — QNetwork
Why 'Amityville 3-D' Is the Worst
"Amityville 3-D," or "Amityville III: The Demon," was a massive disappointment when it debuted in 1983. 3-D movies were the hot new gimmick, so a glut of horror movies, like Jaws-3D, attempted to cash in on the craze. "Amityville 3-D" is the worst of the bunch.
The film’s only tie to the original Amityville house is the main characters, who expose the whole Amityville haunting thing as a hoax.
Then they move into a house with a portal to hell in the cellar, resulting in some disjointed scenes and terrible special effects.
Director: John Derek
Starring: Bo Derek, George Kennedy
Budget: $7 million
Box office: $8.9 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Bolero'
"No doubt [the climax] distracted the writer-director from the dialogue, which is in every sense unspeakable." — The Times
"Totally bonkers from start to finish. 'Bolero' never quite lets up being totally mesmerising as well." — Financial Times
"Some movies that didn't start out to be comedies wind up in the so-bad-that-they're-great category. Not this one. It's just so bad that it's awful." — Santa Cruz Sentinel
Why 'Bolero' Is the Worst
"Bolero" was made by John Derek, husband of Bo Derek. Bo Derek stars in "Bolero." In other words, "Bolero" was made as a vanity project for his wife.
"Bolero" is a romantic drama, which starts out with Bo’s handsome, bullfighting, vineyard-owning lover being gored by a bull. She then becomes a bullfighter, is kidnapped, and rescues herself.
"Bolero" is also a movie for everyone who wanted to see Bo Derek naked. The movie had enough sex scenes to nearly receive an X-rating, which would ensure its death at the box office. It released without an MPAA rating and subsequently became a box-office bomb due to a lack of interest from theaters.
This film is marginally worse than "Conan the Destroyer."
1985: Red Sonja
Director: Richard Fleischer
Starring: Brigitte Nielsen, Sandahl Bergman, Paul Smith, Arnold Schwarzenegger
Budget: $17.9 million
Box office: $6.95 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Red Sonja'
"Red Sonja returns to those olden days when women were women and the menfolk stood around with funny hats on until called forth to be whacked at." — Variety
"This is a sword-and-sorcery adventure for those who like their action fast and furious, their dialogue ropey and their acting filled with more ham than a butcher's shop." — Radio Times
"Mr. Fleischer brings absolutely no playfulness to what might, at least, have been enjoyably light. And he brings out the worst in a cast that was ill-chosen to begin with." — The New York Times
Why 'Red Sonja' Is the Worst
The last "Conan: The Barbarian" film until the deplorable 2011 reboot, "Red Sonja" is a travesty of what could have been.
Instead of a course correction of what "Conan The Destroyer" did wrong, director Richard Fleischer made an even worse movie bereft of the magic, spark and slight edginess of the original movie.
It’s cheesy and childish, and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s return as Conan is squandered.
1986: Howard the Duck
Director: Willard Huyck
Starring: Lea Thompson, Jeffery Jones, Tim Robbins
Budget: $37 million
Box office: $38 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Howard the Duck'
"In the absence of anything resembling structure, character, point of view or sense of purpose, there is no place else for this empty project to go." — Chicago Tribune
"As you watch 'Howard the Duck,' you get the vivid sensation that you're watching not a movie, but a pile of money being poured down the drain." — The Washington Post
Why 'Howard the Duck' Is the Worst
"Howard the Duck" is infamously bad. It’s a boring, failed superhero movie based on one of the more esoteric Marvel characters, an anthropomorphic duck who knows kung-fu.
The movie was intended to be an animated film, which could have worked, but Lucasfilm was under contract to produce a live-action movie.
The result is "Howard the Duck."
1987: Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
Director: Sidney J. Furie
Starring: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Jackie Cooper, Marc McClure, Margot Kidder
Budget: $17 million
Box office: $15.68 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Superman IV: The Quest for Peace'
"The overall effect is of a story atomized and dying before our eyes, collapsing into smashed pulp, ground down into big-budget Kryptonite ash." — Los Angeles Times
"Subtitled 'The Quest for Peace,' this Superman sequel should have been called the 'The Quest for a Plot.'" — United Press International
"By ordinary movie standards it's awful, but fans of cinematic dementia should have fun for about half an hour." — Chicago Reader
Why 'Superman IV: The Quest for Peace' Is the Worst
This "Superman" movie was so bad that a new "Superman" film was not be made for 20 years.
Much of this has to do with budget constraints, leading to super cheap-looking special effects and mediocre set designs. According to Jon Cryer, who played Lex Luger’s nephew, the film ran out of financing, and the movie was released unfinished.
"The movie is not finished," he said during a CNN interview. "There are effect shots that don’t make sense, there are huge scenes missing. I swear, in the original script, it made more sense."
1988: Mac and Me
Director: Stewart Raffill
Starring: Christine Ebersole, Jonathan Ward
Budget: $13 million
Box office: $6.42 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Mac and Me'
"'Mac and Me' is a 99-minute commercial occasionally interrupted by a not-so-good children`s movie." — Chicago Tribune
"A blatant commercial for McDonald's and Coca-Cola disguised as an E.T. rip-off." — People Magazine
"A film that warms your heart with rage, 'Mac and Me' offers a constant stream of soulless corporate synergy. Like a 19th-century mountebank, the film peddles Coca-Cola as a life-saving elixir." — Dare Daniel
Why 'Mac and Me' Is the Worst
A complete and total rip-off of "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial," "Mac and Me" is a 99 minute-long commercial for McDonald's. The movie is about a boy with spina bifida who meets an alien creature, MAC (for Mysterious Alien Creature, not Big Mac, no sir). But unlike E.T.’s gut-punch ending, MAC is awarded immigration status and allowed to stay.
According to an in-depth look by Thrillist, the producers claim they really wanted to make a feel-good movie and wanted to be careful about product placement, and the McDonald’s hook in "Mac and M" was mainly for Ronald McDonald House Charities, not to shill the product. The path to hell is paved with good intentions.
Every time Paul Rudd appears on "Conan," they air a clip from "Mac and Me" instead of whatever he’s working on.
Director: Andrew Jordan
Starring: Barry J. Gillis, Andrew Jordan
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'Things'
"For a film to be described as the worst movie ever made, it has to be the absolute antithesis of entertaining. ... [S]o wretched that viewing it is a truly excruciating experience. ... And the only film that truly wields that awesome power is the beyond deplorable 'Things.'" — Dread Central
"The frustratingly vapid plot, which follows no detectable logic, is treated as a minor distraction by the protagonists, who spend almost the entire film getting drunk, watching TV, and having completely unrelated conversations full of some of the most jaw-droppingly inappropriate dialogue ever read in front of a camera." — Canuxploitation
Why 'Things' Is the Worst
"Things" is an obscure Canadian movie that was almost completely forgotten, but thanks to the internet, lives on in its complete and total terribleness.
"Things" is theoretically about a woman who was artificially impregnated by a lunatic doctor. Monsters burst from her belly and wreak havoc around the house while two men attempt to kill them all. It’s shot horribly, has a bunch of gross scenes and is not entertaining whatsoever.
"Things" is streaming on Amazon Prime if you want to torture yourself.
1990: Troll 2
Director: Claudio Fragasso
Starring: Michael Stephenson, George Hardy, Connie McFarland
Box office: N/A
What Reviewers Said About 'Troll 2'
"[G]odawfulness in the best way imaginable." — 7M Pictures
"There are movies that are bad. There are movies that are so-bad-they're-good. And then there's 'Troll 2,' a movie that's so bad that it defies comprehension." — Mountain Xpress
Why 'Troll 2' the Worst
Frequently cited as the worst movie ever made, "Troll 2" has developed a huge cult following thanks to cable and YouTube.
So many people have discovered this lost, so-terrible-it’s-wonderful gem from video clips posted to social media, like "Oh my goooood" and the dinner scene.
The budget for this movie is undisclosed, but it was so small that the actors used their own clothes. The documentary "Best Worst Movie" provides an inside look into the creation of "Troll 2" (which has no trolls and is not a sequel) and its infinite terribleness.
1991: Cool As Ice
Director: David Kellog
Starring: Vanilla Ice, Kristin Minter, Michael Gross
Budget: $6 million
Box office: $1.2 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Cool As Ice'
"The lifeless music and dance sequences in which the rapper performs with his crew have the feel of low-budget video clips that have been inserted almost by mistake." — The York Times
"Having established that he can't rap or dance, Vanilla Ice now adds acting to his resume. Call it the tri-imperfecta of pop." — The Washington Post
Why 'Cool As Ice' the Worst
The 1990s music industry was all about finding undiscovered singers, wrapping them into whatever package might sell the most CDs and merch, using them for as long as possible, and then ditching them.
"Cool as Ice" was created specifically for Vanilla Ice to get him popular with the kids, and as such, it’s exactly like those cartoons from the 1980s that were only made to sell toys. In "Cool as Ice," Vanilla Ice plays Johnny Van Owen, a drifter/rapper/cool guy who’s there to drive motorcycles, dance terribly, and get the girl in the end.
At least it was cheap. This stinker only took $6 million to make.
1992: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Estelle Getty, JoBeth Williams, Roger Rees
Budget: $45 million (unverified)
Box office: $70.6 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot'
"I laughed occasionally, but in pain." — The Spectator
"It is moronic beyond comprehension, an exercise in desperation during which even Sylvester Stallone, a repository of self-confidence, seems to be disheartened." — RogerEbert.com
Why 'Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot' Is the Worst
"Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot" takes the buddy-cop premise and adds a twist: This cop’s new partner is his mother. So why the hell did Sylvester Stallone take this movie?
Because Arnold Schwarzenegger trolled him. The movie star read the script, knew it was trash, but feigned interest in it just so Stallone would pick it up.
"I’ve done some movies that went right in the toilet ... but this was really bad," Schwarzenegger said. He went on to "leak" that he was interested in the film, but also that he wanted a huge amount of money. Then the studio approached Stallone, whom they thought they could do it for cheaper.
"So they told Sly, 'Schwarzenegger’s interested. Here’s the press clippings. He’s talked about that. If you want to grab that one away from him, that is available.' And he went for it! He totally went for it!"
Beautifully done, Governor.
1993: Robocop 3
Director: Fred Dekker
Starring: Robert John Burke, Nancy Allen, Rip Torn
Budget: $22 million
Box office: $10.7 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Robocop 3'
"If you really want more RoboCop, rent the video of the first movie." — The Washington Post
"Why do they persist in making these retreads? Because RoboCop is a brand name, I guess, and this is this year's new model. It's an old tradition in Detroit to take an old design and slap on some fresh chrome." — RogerEbert.com
Why 'Robocop 3' Is the Worst
"Robocop" is one of the greatest science fiction action films ever made. "Robocop 2" is pretty good. But "Robocop 3" is an abomination.
Peter Weller doesn’t play Robocop, which was bad enough. The worst thing about this movie, though, is that studios tried to make one of the most violent franchises of the 1980s be more family-friendly and toned it down to be a PG-13 movie. Unforgivable.
This is a movie we would not buy for a dollar.
1994: Wagons East!
Director: Peter Markle
Starring: John Candy, Richard Lewis, John C. McGinley, Ellen Greene
Box office: $4.4 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Wagons East!'
"The jokes tend to be watered-down versions of the tasteless kind that enlivened the ‘Naked Gun’ movies and the early films of Mel Brooks." — The Baltimore Sun
"A stridently unfunny western comedy that is equally lame in its writing and direction." — Chicago Reader
"[O]ne of the least amusing comedies I've ever seen." — RogerEbert.com
Why 'Wagons East!' Is the Worst
As film reviewer Steven Rea said, "Wagons East!" is an "anemic 'Blazing Saddles' wannabe."
The movie tries to use the same kind of wit and humor found in Mel Brooks movies, but the jokes fall flat, and the writing is drab and boring.
It’s difficult to know how much was out of the director’s and studio’s control. John Candy died during the filming of this movie. Although the producers said he finished all of his key scenes, they still had to use stand-ins or out-of-focus shots for those where he was needed.
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Starring: Elizabeth Berkley, Gina Gershon, Kyle MacLachlan
Budget: $45 million
Box office: $20.35 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Showgirls'
"Is it sexy? Not when you’re laughing." — Chicago Tribune
"A film so exquisitely made can't possibly be this incompetent, or can it?" — The ARTery
"The thin, terrible people of 'Showgirls' are equally loathsome; you don't have a rooting interest in Nomi or her "dream," and as a result, 'Showgirls' is 131 minutes of watching trashy, vapid people being terrible to each other." — Flavorwire
Why 'Showgirls' Is the Worst
Let’s call a spade a spade. The only reason why anyone paid to see "Showgirls" was to see Elizabeth Berkley naked. But "Showgirls" is a puzzling botchfest.
It’s so damned strange that Paul Verhoeven, whose "Starship Troopers" was such a good satire that critics at the time didn’t know they were being fooled, could create something like "Showgirls."
Is it possible that this film was mocking everything it stood for? That it wasn’t supposed to be taken seriously whatsoever, that Verhoeven decided to blow $45 million out of spite on something as vapid as "Showgirls" subjects?
It’s entirely possible.
Director: Andrew Bergman
Starring: Demi Moore, Armand Assante, Ving Rhames, Burt Reynolds
Budget: $40 million-$50 million
Box office: $113.3 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Striptease'
"Yet another case of the star's salary being much more interesting, and exuberantly vulgar, than anything the screen reveals." — The Wall Street Journal
"The Striptease script ... is at a loss for any kind of drama between Moore's dances. Not for a second do we care about her as a mother, wife or working woman." — Chicago Tribune
"For all its matter-of-fact nudity and wealth of silicon-heavy exotic dancers, the film lacks any palpable sense of eroticism." — Tulsa World
Why 'Striptease' Is the Worst
Let’s call a spade a spade. The only reason why anyone paid to see "Striptease" was to see Demi Moore do stripteases. Which is fine. But unlike the puzzling "Showgirls," "Striptease" was just flat-out bad
Still, Moore certainly knew what she was worth in such a role, nabbing a $12.5 million paycheck, the largest paycheck any woman in Hollywood had ever received at the time.
As a comedy/drama, "Striptease" failed pretty much on every level, abandoning the source material’s plot (it was actually based on a very well-received book). "Striptease" swept the 1997 Razzie awards.
1997: Batman and Robin
Director: Joel Schumacher
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell, Uma Thurman, Alicia Silverstone
Budget: $160 million
Box office: $238.2 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Batman and Robin'
"Schumacher is like a bad stepdad who thinks we'll love him if he just feeds us candy all day. (Yes, Burton is the daddy in this metaphor — the manic-depressive, annoyingly emo daddy.)" — Flavorwire
"A sniggering, exhausting, overproduced extravaganza that has virtually all of the humanity pounded out of it in the name of an endless parade of stunt sequences." — Chicago Tribune
Why 'Batman and Robin' Is the Worst
The batsuit has nipples, the action sucks, and it feels like a parody of itself. "Batman and Robin" killed the Batman franchise for eight years, until Christopher Nolan finally made a good Batman movie with "Batman Begins."
A nice chunk of "Batman and Robin"'s absurd $160 million budget went to Arnold Schwarzenegger, who received $25 million to say terrible puns like "Ice to meet you!" and "What killed the dinosaurs? The Ice Age!" and "Let’s kick some ice!"
"I just hope whenever I see a list of the worst movies ever made, we’re not on it," director Joel Schumacher once said. "I didn’t do a good job."
Director: Michael Bay
Starring: Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thorton, Liv Tyler, Owen Wilson, Steve Buscemi
Budget: $140 million
Box office: $553.7 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Armageddon'
"It's strictly a side issue whether mankind will survive colliding with an asteroid the size of Texas; the real question is whether Liv Tyler, who plays Bruce Willis's daughter, gets to keep her boyfriend." — Chicago Reader
"The end of the world is going to be very noisy and filled with some of the worst dialogue ever." — New York Daily News
"By the time Bay and Bruckheimer appropriate John F. Kennedy's image in their final small-town-America montage, it's clear their pomposity knows no limits." — The Baltimore Sun
Why 'Armageddon' Is the Worst
On the DVD’s commentary track, Ben Affleck reflects on when he asked director Michael Bay a question.
"Why is it easier to train oil drillers to become astronauts than to train astronauts to become oil drillers?" recalled Affleck. "He told me to 'Shut the f--- up.' So that was the end of that talk. He was like, 'You know, Ben. Just shut up, okay? This is the real [NASA] plan, alright?' I was like, 'You mean it's a real plan at NASA to train oil drillers?' He was like, 'Just shut your mouth!'"
"Armageddon" is the pinnacle of terrible 1990s disaster flicks. Its bloated budget is designated almost entirely to special effects and its ensemble cast and the soundtrack, which features that unforgivably terrible "I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith. That dreadful tune is a mockery of everything that is good in this world.
1999: Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace
Director: George Lucas
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd
Budget: $115 million
Box office: $1.02 billion
What Reviewers Said About 'Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace'
"What I can't comprehend is why the political details had to be so tedious and abstract. Will the kids of our nation and the world truly be titillated by trade wars and the spectacle of a do-nothing Senate?" — The Wall Street Journal
"The dialogue isn't the issue; the acting isn't really the issue; nor is it any single annoying character. ... There's no sense of wonder. No yearning. No spirit." — Filmspotting
"Do kids really want to follow a plot about intergalactic trade embargoes?" — The Times
Why 'Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace' Is the Worst
The "Star Wars" prequels are now the stuff of memes and do have a following of people who genuinely enjoy watching them. That still does not make them good films.
The worst of them all was "Episode 1." The hype surrounding "The Phantom Menace" was unbelievable. Truckloads of toys poured into Toys "R" Us stores and malls everywhere. Marketing was omnipresent. Fans were elated — finally, after 22 years, another "Star Wars" movie!
And then came the endless discussions on trade embargos and politics.
Of course, "Star Wars" is now in the white-gloved hands of Disney, which will be feeding us new "Star Wars" material for the rest of our lives, and our children’s lives, and our children’s children’s lives, and our children’s. You get the idea.
2000: Battlefield Earth
Director: Roger Christian
Starring: John Travolta, Barry Pepper, Forest Whitaker
Budget: $73 million
Box office: $21. 5 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Battlefield Earth'
"Not so much watched as lived through, Battlefield Earth is bad enough to make audiences ashamed to be part of the same species as the people who made it." — AV Club
"'Plan 9,' at least, was a protest against nuclear proliferation — what the hell is Battlefield Earth about? Is it supposed to be a tribute to man's ingenuity? If so, why is it so shoddily built?" — MetroActive
Why 'Battlefield Earth' Is the Worst
John Travolta’s pet Scientology project is so notoriously bad that it’s worth a watch — as long as you have access to the fast-forward button.
For every unintentionally hilarious scene, there are many more minutes of plodding, diagonally shot, blue-tinted scenes that go absolutely nowhere.
"Battlefield Earth" is the stuff of legends and bewildering dreams.
Director: Vondie Curtis Hall
Starring: Mariah Carey, Da Brat, Max Beesley, Terrence Howard
Budget: $22 million
Box office: $5.27 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Glitter'
"Too washed-out and worthless to even be so bad it's good." — Antagony & Ecstasy
"Though unintentional laughs are there to be had ... 'Glitter' never quite crosses into the so-bad-it's-good realm to make the film worthwhile." — Boxoffice Magazine
Why 'Glitter' Is the Worst
“Glitter" is a self-indulgent rags-to-riches story set in 1983 about a girl who wants to become a singer, does so, and finds love along the way.
There was considerable media concern/attention given to Mariah Carrey before this film premiered, as she acted strangely in public, posted (and then deleted) a cryptic message on her website and then checked into a hospital for "extreme exhaustion," according to Entertainment Weekly at the time. Many years later, Carey told the world that she has bipolar disorder.
"Glitter" nearly tanked Carey’s career, which must have been terrible for the singer’s mental health at the time. She found some redemption 17 years later, when the "Glitter" soundtrack reached first place on iTunes after a #JusticeForGlitter campaign took off on social media in 2018.
2002: Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Lucy Liu
Budget: $70 million
Box office: $20.2 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever'
"For many viewers, the big question may be not whether 'Ecks and Sever' will get together, or why they are fighting in the first place, but why am I sitting here, anyway?" — Associated Press
"Before seeing this film I couldn't understand why the producers had given it a subtitle; afterward I realized 'Ecks vs. Sever' was probably the full script." – Chicago Reader
Why 'Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever' Is the Worst
"Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever" is an incomprehensible action movie that replaces any kind of storytelling or dialogue with constant gunfights and explosions.
There is such a complete lack of substance to this film that it’s just downright confusing as to how anyone could release it and call it a movie.
And it cost $70 million to make.
Director: Marin Brest
Starring: Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bartha, Al Pacino, Christopher Walken
Budget: $75.6 million
Box office: $7.26 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Gigli'
"It's every bit as atrocious as you may have heard. Nay, worse." — Daily Telegraph
"Now we can see why the Jennifer Lopez-Ben Affleck marriage was called off. It was on grounds of unreasonable cruelty to audiences." — Daily Mail
Why 'Gigli' Is the Worst
Very few movies are so bad they kill careers. But that’s what happened to "Gigli" director Martin Brest, who completely disappeared from Hollywood after making this movie. Even more bewildering is that Brest was the guy who made "Beverly Hills Cop."
As a film, "Gigli" is notoriously terrible and still is a synonym for "terrible film." It's a mess of a movie involving mob guy Larry Gigli (Ben Affleck), whose mob boss sends him to go kidnap the younger brother of a federal prosecutor. Not sure that Gigli can do the job, the mob boss sends Ricki (Jennifer Lopez) to make sure he gets the job done.
Lopez reportedly earned $12 million for the role, or about $5 million more than the film made during its entire theatrical run.
Starring: Halle Berry, Benjamin Bratt, Lambert Wilson, Sharon Stone
Budget: $100 million
Box office: $82 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Catwoman'
"Catwoman’'s director, a visual-effects specialist named Pitof, is not contained by the rules of filmmaking. Scenes that make sense? Nonsense. Characters with inner lives? Utterly passe." — Wall Street Journal
"Relentlessly gaudy and in love with its PG-13 approximation of kink, 'Catwoman' is essentially an excuse to pose Berry in ever-skimpier outfits. It's all too pre-fab to register as sexy, though, and even the fight scenes look like fashion shoots." — AV Club
"If there was ever a movie capable of stopping years of progress in its tracks, this would be the one." — The Spool
Why 'Catwoman' Is the Worst
This movie was made to cash-in on Halle Berry's popularity and the first wave of modern superhero films. Despite the filmmaker putting Barry in a skintight S&M suit costume, audiences were not so easily tricked. "Catwoman" is trash from start to finish and has the most headache-inducing basketball scene in the history of cinema.
Barry won the Worst Actress award at that year’s Razzies. She surprised everyone by showing up, and gave an acceptance speech, which included this gem: "First of all, I want to thank Warner Brothers. Thank you for putting me in a piece of s--- god-awful movie."
A hat tip to "Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2," which also was a complete pile of crap that came out in 2004.
2005: Son of the Mask
Director: Lawrence Guterman
Starring: Jamie Kennedy, Alan Cumming, Traylor Howard
Budget: $84 million-$93 million
Box office: $59.98 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Son of the Mask'
"No doubt extensive market research shows that there's an audience out there for movies like 'Son Of The Mask,' but it's too depressing to speculate who that might be." — AV Club
"There's no story to speak of, just a string of scenarios usually resulting in everything in sight getting smashed." — Reel Times
"You know how awful this movie looks in the previews? Well, that's exactly how bad the movie actually is." — Three Movie Buffs
Why 'Son of the Mask' the Worst
If you’ve seen "Son of the Mask," you probably only remember it being terrible and nothing else. That’s because the movie is joyless, stupid and forgettable.
Star Jaimie Kennedy received so much flak (and hate) for this film that it inspired a documentary by Kennedy called "Heckler."
In that documentary, Kennedy goes to some of his more vocal critics and asks them why they were so mean, while also implying that they are virgins. High art.
2006: The Wicker Man
Director: Neil LaBute
Starring: Nicolas Cage
Budget: $40 million
Box office: $38.8 million
What Reviewers Said About 'The Wicker Man'
"Despite retaining significant chunks of Shaffer's dialogue to go along with the basic story structure, LaBute has transformed the eerie, disturbing psychological thriller into an unintentional comedy." — ReelViews
"When 'The Wicker Man' offers more laughs than 'Talladega Nights,' it might be a sign for the auteur to switch brands to comedy." — CinePassion
Why 'The Wicker Man' Is the Worst
Nicholas Cage gives one of his best, terrible performances yet in "The Wicker Man," the 2006 remake of the cult horror film from 1973. Cage overacts in every single scene. And that’s not hyperbole.
What is played as a straight and serious horror film descends — or ascends — into unintentional comedy. Watch with delight the infamous "Oh no, not the bees" scene, or near the climax, where Cage puts on a bear suit and decks a woman.
It’s absolutely terrible and absolutely worth watching.
2007: Epic Movie
Director: Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer
Starring: Kal Penn, Adam Campbell, Jennifer Coolidge
Budget: $20 million
Box office: $87.24
What Reviewers Said About 'Epic Movie'
"The most excruciating, unfunny film you'll see this year... if not your entire lifetime." — BBC
"The makers of 'Epic Movie' have just discovered the existence of urine, vomit and pimples, and declared them hilarious." — New York Post
"'Epic Movie' does improve on 'Date Movie,' but that's like saying a broken arm is better than a broken leg. Both breaks are pretty painful." — Bowling Green Daily News
Why 'Epic Movie' Is the Worst
Another one of these idiotic spoof movies that have been total trash since "Scary Movie 2."
"Epic Movie” is one of the worst offenders. Then again, all of those movies are worst offenders.
Thank God they stopped making them.
2008: The Happening
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Mark Whalberg, Zooey Deshanel, John Leguizamo
Budget: $48 million
Box office: $163.4 million
What Reviewers Said About 'The Happening'
"[A]n astonishment, so idiotic in conception and inept in execution that, after seeing it, one almost wonders whether it was real or imagined." — The New Republic
"All that's missing is the head alien of 'Plan 9 From Outer Space' dropping by to lecture the populace for disrespecting nature: 'Your stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!'' — Vulture
"One of the most interesting movies of the year, despite being one of the worst. It offers a study in what happens to the mind of a talented moviemaker when he is caught between commercial hysteria and his own engulfing ego." — London Review of Books
Why 'The Happening' Is the Worst
The plants of the earth are angry. Real angry. They’re sick of our CO2 emissions, they’re sick of our lawnmowers. They need to send us a warning — that they could kill us at any time by making humans compulsively suicidal.
During this film, a man offers his arm to a lion, and the big cat just sort of casually pops it off. Mark Wahlberg runs from the wind. A man takes a nap in front of his lawnmower.
"The Happening" is utterly confusing because it’s impossible to take seriously, despite M. Night Syamalan’s insistence that this is an actual movie with real morality and not a schlockfest.
It’s gleefully terrible.
2009: Miss March
Director: Trevor Moore and Zach Cregger
Starring: Zach Cregger, Trevor Moore, Raquel Alessi
Budget: $6 million
Box office: $4.48 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Miss March'
"A crude, crass, virtually laugh-free sex comedy." — Time Out
"A whiff of what I can only describe as pure evil billows off the screen while this comedy is playing: a buddy grossout picture with zero laughs and a persistent, chilling misogyny." — The Guardian
"Miss March must be a contender for worst film of the year. It's so poor that you begin to suspect it's a pastiche." — The Times
Why It’s the Worst Is
A feature film attempt by the normally funny Whitest Kids U’ Know guys, "Miss March" is about a high school student who falls into a coma before getting to sleep with his girlfriend, who was about to break her vow of abstinence for him.
He wakes up four years later and finds out that his girlfriend is now a Playboy model — she’s Miss March. Woah! He and his friend take a road trip to the Playboy Mansion in order to win back his now famous girlfriend. Hijinks ensue, laughs are not had.
If that sounds terrible, it is. The film is full of crude humor that exists only to be crude, without any wit to back it up.
2010: The Last Airbender
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Noah Ringer, Dev Patel, Nicola Peltz
Budget: $150 million
Box office: $319.7 million
What Reviewers Said About 'The Last Airbender'
"[A] breathtakingly clueless, misconceived, stupid, humourless, unexciting, dim, dumb farrago, the worst film I've seen in years." — The Independent
"This empty, misfired epic from M. Night Shyamalan is boring and strengthens the claim that he is the worst director working in mainstream cinema today." — The Age
"Shyamalan is your trickster guide on a journey into nothingness, from which only your soul-dead shadow will ever return." — io9
Why 'The Last Airbender' Is the Worst
The "Avatar: The Last Airbender" franchise has a devoted following, so fans were hopeful when a big-budget, live-action movie was announced. It let everyone down spectacularly. Everything about "The Last Airbender" is a wreck, from the script to the acting to the plot to the special effects.
Plans for a trilogy were scrapped. While "The Last Airbender" made nearly $320 million worldwide, this film was enormously expensive. The studio pumped another $130 million into worldwide marketing, meaning the movie made pretty much nothing.
It deserved less.
2011: Jack and Jill
Director: Dennis Dugan
Starring: Adam Sandler, Katie Holmes, Al Pacino
Budget: $79 million
Box office: $149.67 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Jack and Jill'
"Is this projection of Sandler's anima, a brutal example of superstar self-loathing, or a vehicle for fart jokes? You're both right." — DCist
"'Jack and Jill' is an ill-advised, too long Saturday Night Live skit gone wrong. It's a cartoon. It's a way for all involved to pad their pockets and a way for Sandler to keep his friends employed." — We Got This Covered
Why 'Jack and Jill' Is the Worst
How does a movie whose biggest special effect is putting a wig on Adam Sandler cost $79 million? How much did they pay Al Pacino to star in this? Why is there a nearly full-length commercial for Dunkin' Donuts? Did this film have any oversight? How much did Sandler’s friends get paid?
So many questions. No answers.
"Jack and Jill" swept the 2011 Razzies, and deservedly so.
Director: Peter Berg
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgar, Rihanna, Liam Neeson
Budget: $209 million
Box office: $303 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Battleship'
"Big loud stupid dopey shameless cliched overbearing and did I mention stupid?" — RogerEbert.com
"'Battleship' doesn't sink, really. It just sits there booming endlessly as you look on aghast." — Detroit News
"It's just like the board game, assuming the board game cost $200 million and was dumb." — Concrete Playground
Why 'Battleship' Is the Worst
"Battleship" cost Universal Pictures $83 million in losses, mainly because some executive thought, "A movie based on that Battleship board game from the 1930s only with aliens, wouldn’t that be sweet?" And then someone agreed, sinking $209 million, just on the production budget, into that idea.
It’s loud, boring and stupid. It’s the kind of movie that quintessentially represents stupid blockbuster attempts, only without a real main star to carry it because there wasn’t enough money to go around.
The entire budget was blown on special effects.
2013: A Good Day to Die Hard
Director: John Moore
Starring: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch
Budget: $92 million
Box office: $304.65 million
What Reviewers Said About 'A Good Day to Die Hard'
"I didn't think it was physically possible to doze off at a movie as loud as 'A Good Day to Die Hard,' but for a few moments my mind found some distant, peaceful refuge." — Vulture
"For anyone who remembers the 'Die Hard' adventures at their vital and exciting best, this film feels like a near-death experience." — The Wall Street Journal
"'Die Hard 5' is a spit in the face of the franchise, an embarrassment that should be quickly forgotten about and never spoken of again." — Alternative Lens
Why 'A Good Day to Die Hard' Is the Worst
The "Die Hard" franchise managed to produce two solid sequels to the original Christmas classic. Then came part four, which was rated PG-13. A travesty.
Five years later, "Die Hard" hopefuls looked to the newest, R-rated installment with a glint in their eyes. Could Bruce Willis come back and make John McClane cool again? Could "Die Hard" die on a happy note?
No. No, it can’t. Watching "A Good Day to Die Hard" is like walking through broken glass with bare feet. With the final (we hope) installment, the franchise has been reduced to little more than limp jokes and action scenes, with McClane’s character turned into a two-dimensional reluctant action hero.
How they massacred our boy.
2014: Left Behind
Director: Vic Armstrong
Starring: Nicholas Cage, Chad Michael Murray, Cassi Thomson, Nicky Whelan, Jordin Sparks
Budget: $16 million
Box office: $27.4 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Left Behind'
"Not only is this an amateurish travesty combining fundamentalist Christian eschatology with disaster movie b.s., but it's plodding and tedious." — ReelReviews
"It should have more smoldering panic bursting into full-blown freak-outs. It should have more passion, more intensity. It should have more bees." — RogerEbert.com
"Overt Christian messages and Cage's omnipresence are not the only reasons why Left Behind is a terrible movie. And yes, it's indeed terrible-god-awful, a less interesting, more convoluted version of the original Left Behind." — The Daily Beast
Why 'Left Behind' Is the Worst
Originally planned to be a trilogy, "Left Behind" received terrible reviews and mediocre box-office takes, which made sequel hopes go poof. Producer Paul LaLonde launched a crowdfunding campaign asking for $500,000 in contributions for the "Left Behind" sequel, but it closed after just $80,699 in funding.
And just because it’s a Christian movie doesn’t mean it was well-received by Christians.
"'Left Behind' is not a Christian movie, whatever 'Christian Movie' could even possibly mean," reads Christianity Today’s review. "They want churches to book whole theaters and take their congregations, want it to be a Youth Group event, want magazines like this one to publish Discussion Questions at the end of their reviews—want the system to churn away, all the while netting them cash, without ever having to have cared a shred about actual Christian belief. They want to trick you into caring about the movie. Don't."
2015: The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence)
Director: Tom Six
Starring: Dieter Laser, Laurence R. Harvey, Robert LaSardo
Box office: $16,184
What Reviewers Said About 'The Human Centipede III'
"[Tom] Six wants us to be horrified by the content of his movie, but it's the form that's more likely to provoke hemorrhage-inducing face palms." — Little White Lies
"You get what you pay for with this last sequel: a cynical, and consistently unpleasant film with creators who try very, very hard to push as many of your buttons as they can." — RogerEbert.com
"The most depressing thing about this feckless, ugly, and pointless film is how edgy and insightful it aims to be." — TheHorrorShow
Why 'The Human Centipede III' Is the Worst
For anyone who doesn’t know, "The Human Centipede" franchise is a series of three movies that end with many people being sewn from butt to mouth, creating, well, a human centipede.
Most people know what they’re getting into when they sit down for these films, which are so bizarre and upsetting they reach comedic heights. The first was novel, the second was well-shot (if not grosser), while the third was just uninspired and boring, a cardinal sin when it comes to creating these kinds of movies.
"The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence)" barely beat out "The Ridiculous 6" and "Fantastic Four" for the worst movie of 2015. Although watching all three of those films back to back to back would be just slightly more sufferable than being in an actual human centipede.
2016: Zoolander 2
Director: Ben Stiller
Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig
Budget: $55 million
Box office: $56.7 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Zoolander 2'
"'Zoolander 2' is a true stinker, the kind of unfunny, nap-inducing comedy likely to be a future Razzie nominee." — We Are Movie Geeks
"'Zoolander 2,' much like the Nehru jacket and clog shoes, is a freakish fashion statement that should be buried in the past permanently." — The Critical Movie Critics
"How effective can a celebrity satire be when it depends so much on celebrity?" — DCist
Why 'Zoolander 2' Is the Worst
2016 had some abominable stinkers, like "Max Steel" and "Search Party," but "Zoolander 2" takes the crown for that year’s worst movie because it's so egregiously bad compared to the original "Zoolander."
Like the first one, Ben Stiller directed, starred in and co-wrote this film. In fact, most of the same people who worked on the first movie worked on this one. But not a single joke works.
It’s just offensively unfunny. Kind of an upsetting reminder that 15 years can really change what we find funny. And what others don’t.
2017: The Emoji Movie
Director: Tony Leondis
Starring: TJ Miller, James Corden, Anna Faris, Maya Rudolph
Budget: $50 million
Box office: $217.78 million
What Reviewers Said About 'The Emoji Movie'
"Not only does this film hate its very subject matter, it's also the most hideous example of product placement in cinematic history." — The Times
"This is more than a flop - it is an unmitigated cinematic disaster that deserves to be mercilessly beaten in a brutal, bloody fashion." — FrewFilm
"'The Emoji Movie' is cynical, dull, exhausting, soulless, joyless, pointless, and never, ever funny. But on the other hand, I enjoy the faces of disappointed children, so for me the whole experience was really kind of a wash." — Esquire
Why 'The Emoji Movie' Is the Worst
Have you ever wanted to see a movie where everything is a product placement? Brands that appear in "The Emoji Movie" include YouTube, Facebook, Candy Crush, Instagram, Just Dance, DropBox, Spotify and Twitter.
But unlike a show like "Stranger Things," which has some egregious brand placement, the products aren’t shown in the background. They’re woven into the plot as the emojis travel through Spotify worlds and vie to reach the clouds of DropBox.
Since there is no justice in this world, "The Emoji Movie" was a hit and made almost $218 million on a suspiciously small $50 million production budget.
Director: Kevin Connolly
Starring: John Travolta, Kelly Preston
Budget: $10 million
Box office: $6.4 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Gotti'
"He looks distractingly terrible at every stop. ... You never forget that you are watching John Travolta playing John Gotti every time." — What the Flick?!
"When Gotti tells viewers, speaking directly to the camera at film's end, that they'll never see another man like him, an attorney should really spring up and object that the statement assumes facts not in evidence." — AV Club
"He may have been a murderer, but even Gotti deserved better than this." — RogerEbert.com
Why 'Gotti' Is the Worst
The best thing about "Gotti" is the first five minutes, which allows the viewer to fully enjoy the terribleness of John Travolta’s depiction of notorious mob boss John Gotti. It’s gleefully terrible during these five, or maybe even 10 minutes.
But the so-bad-its-good charm wears off and, like the moment before Tommy gets whacked in "Goodfellas," all that’s left is a feeling of shock and dread.
That this movie lasts nearly two hours.
Director: Tom Hooper
Starring: James Corden, Idris Elba, Judi Dench, Taylor Swift, Ian McKellen
Budget: $90 million-$100 million
Box office: $73.7 million
What Reviewers Said About 'Cats'
"There is a thin line between idiocy and genius, and 'Cats' pukes a hairball on it and rubs its a-- all over it." — Slashfilm
"Glad to report that 'Cats' is everything you’d hoped for and more: a mesmerisingly ugly fiasco that makes you feel like your brain is being eaten by a parasite. A viewing experience so stressful that it honestly brought on a migraine." — The Daily Telegraph
"First off, full disclosure — I am not a cat person. Second off — after watching this frankly mortifying film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Cats,' I'm not altogether sure I am a movie person anymore either." — RTE Ireland
Why 'Cats' Is the Worst
"Cats" was one of the most anticipated movies of the year because everyone was anticipating a trainwreck. And, boy, did Tom Hooper deliver. The man who made "The King’s Speech" white-knuckled his way into delivering us CGI, furry-ized, disturbingly sexual cat versions of stars like Judi Dench and James Corbin.
Oddly, Universal Studios did not anticipate the glorious disaster that would be "Cats" and spent an estimated $115 million on advertising, with a total all-in cost of over $200 million, according to Deadline’s estimates.
CGI on the film was not completed until days before the film released into theaters and was not finished. Universal had to fix odd glitches by releasing a new, improved cut of the film while the movie was still in theaters.
Yes, "Cats" was patched. Those who saw it on opening weekend received an even more perplexing experience, and we envy them for it.
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