Face it: We love us some good bad movies. We’re not talking actual trash like “Plan 9 From Outer Space” or “Transmorphers” or “The Babbadook”…. those movies are honest to goodness, totally unwatchable, boring as dog shit garbage.
We’re talking that almost indescribable fusion of mistakes that add up to a glorious, grin inducing, wildly entertaining pile of pure crap.
Whether it’s wooden acting, bargain basement effects or totally nonsensical (or non-existent) plots, there is a certain magic to really great good bad movies that elevates them from the gutter to the pantheon of cult classics. And the magic that makes great “good bad movies” is that it’s never boring.. it may be cheap, confusing, infuriating or even insulting to your intelligence… but never boring. The moment you’re predictably bad, the spell is broken. A great bad movie surprises you with it’s idiocy, wows you with it’s plot holes., stuns you with it’s costume choices… in other words, it’s never what you expect.
Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller….the genre doesn’t matter to good bad movies, and since watching even the best movies can get kinda well, predictable, we’ve collected an ever-updating list of the best bad movies you can watch in 2021 and beyond.
A titan of good bad movies and equal only to Showgirls in terms of “what the fuck kind of stripping is this?”, Striptease is bad in every way a movie can be, yet we cannot look away. C-section scars? Check. People in completely different movies yet acting in the same scene together? Oh yeah. Casual racism? Sure. Burt Reynolds in a wig? You bet.
It’s really got it all.
Bizarrely enough, Striptease was actually based on a book of the same name (which is actually pretty good) , and it’s author, Carl Hiassen, is on record as loving the movie. Go figure.
Snake Eyes (1998)
How can a Brian De Palma movie end up on this list?
Two words. Nicolas. Cage.
An absolutely unstoppable, scenery annihilating performance as a manic cop trying to stop terrorists at a prize fight, Cage obliterates any chance of the movie making much sense (why is he dressed in the same outfit as Wild At Heart?) while simultaneously making it a goddamn classic of good bad movies.
Between the wigs (so many wigs!), the totally ridiculous stunts, the “where is this guy from?” character actors galore and some honestly jaw dropping camera work there was a lot that could have gone worse for Snake Eyes, but thankfully it careened of the road of good taste, burst into flames and crashed squarely onto our list of good bad movies.
Mullets. Karate. Friendship.
These are the building blocks of one of the best good bad movies of all time, Roadhouse. Starring the flowing hair of Patrick Swayze as well as actor Patrick Swayze, this cinematic classic tells he story of “cooler” Dalton, who arrives at the worst bar in town to clean it up for reasons that are, actually, pretty unclear for the entire film.
He fucks. He fights. He dispenses Confucian wisdom to slack jawed yokels between palling around with blind blues musician Jeff Healy and perennial human block of wood Sam Worthington (as the only tougher bouncer on earth). It’s glorious trash.
If you could distill Kenny Powers, Donald Trump Jr. and Mac from It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia into a single person, then have that person make a movie FOR that person, you’d get Roadhouse.
Unlawful Entry (1992)
The 90’s were awash in good bad movies, and no genre got more shit shovelled into it that the “Thriller”.
A strong and hilariously overwrought entry, 1992’s Unlawful Entry slides into the good bad movies list with a laundry list of classic 90’s cliches: hysterical wife, cuckolded husband, weird dancing, fax machine related drama….it’s got it all.
When a crackhead breaks into their house, yuppie couple Kurt Russel and a sleepwalking Madeline Stowe attract the attention of “why do I look like I’m about to shit constantly” Ray Liotta, a cop who’s idea of protect and serve involves serving his junk to your wife. As things go in these type of movies, his IMMEDIATELY OBVIOUS creepiness is ignored until it’s too late, and mayhem ensues.
Like many good bad movies, it’s tough to pinpoint exactly why Unlawful Entry is so enjoyable, but a perfect storm of hysterically bad acting, dumb-as-fuck characters and occasionally some T&A had us howling until the end.
Demon Wind (1990)
We’d be lying to you all if we didn’t include on of the top good bad movies to emerge in the last few years: DEMON WIND.
From it’s laugh out loud intro (an old woman just says “WIND” over and over), to the Karate magicians (yep) to a completely insane conclusion, Demon Wind not only hits every target as a good bad movie, it obliterates them like an atom bomb: bad acting, bad effects, bad music…bad everything.
But we don’t want to give too much away, after all, a constant state of confusion is key to truly enjoying Demon Wind.
A true good bad movies classic, Showgirls asks the question “what if ‘A Star Is Born’ was written by a pervert and directed by a lunatic?”…well, you get Kyle McLaughlin delivering dialog like this:
“You got low self-esteem baby, you’re a fantastic fuck”
We won’t waste much time here, it’s a bad movie classic that everyone knows: you know it’s bad, we know it’s bad, you love it, we love it. It has everything: horrible acting, horrible hair, horrible sex scenes… and some of the most quotable lines in cinema history.
Book Of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)
Is Book of Shadows the most Nu-Metal movie ever made? It’s possible. Is it one of the worst sequels of all time? Perhaps. Is it one of the best good bad movies ever made? Absolutely.
With little relation to what made the first film a legitimate classic (no found footage or puzzle-box narratives here folks), this trash heap combines some classic “bad movie” DNA to create an abomination of cliches well worth a Saturday night watch. A paint by numbers teen horror film (with actors clearly in their early 30s) smushed into a bad haunted house scenario with a heaping helping of XTREEEEM Y2K angst (it looks like an Airwalk discount store threw up on everything), there’s not a tense moment to be found. Seriously: They show you the ending 2 minutes into the movie. It’s…bizarre to say the least.
Instead we get a nearly constant laugh-out-loud calamity that’s sure to have you chuckling from start to end. This is definitely no Halloween III.
The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999)
A staple of good bad movies since time began, the “unrelated sequel” is a surefire way to craft a movie that doesn’t make any goddamn sense just to cash in on name recognition.
Take a hastily made 90s b-movie teen horror, Frankensteined into a sequel of the Stephen King classic, throw it into a blender of late 90s cliches, laugh-out-loud death scenes and horrendous casting and you’ve got a shit smoothie so enjoyable that it propels Carrie 2 into the “so bad it’s good” hall of fame.
Its plot follows the younger half-sister of Carrie White, also empowered with telekinesis, who finds that her best friend’s suicide was spurred by a group of popular male classmates who exploited her for sexual gain. Lots of #metoo mayhem and bargain basement CGI ensues as Rachel offs the high school one by one with the power of her mind.
Battlefield Earth (2000)
Avatar? Jupiter Ascending? Cloud Atlas? Please, sit down… the true king of the Sci-Fi good bad movies mountain has arrived: Battlefield Earth.
After his Pulp Fiction comeback, John Travolta returned to being a laughing stock in this overblown, overlong and over budget adaptation of Scientologist guru L. Ron Hubbard’s barley readable sci-fi novel, delivering what’s often called the worst film of the last 100 years.
Set in the year 3000 the “Psyklo” master race (aliens who look like feral Kiss fans) invade Colorado (rural Quebec, but sure) with their advanced and unstoppable technology and enslave humans to…mine gold (what?). A hero is born, (yadda yadda yadda), the caveman slaves get zapped with a brain ray and boom: they can fly spaceships. Yes, it’s that bad.
Beyond the bargain basement effects, the insane Travolta performances, Forrest Whitaker and Berry Pepper also immolate their careers on this monstrosity what makes this even more badly watchable is that director Roger Christian shoots every scene on a weird askew angle, like a fever dream. It’s awful. It’s nauseating. It’s a blast.
Friday The 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985)
Possibly the sleaziest entry into the Friday The 13th slasher series, “Part V” is so trashy, so exploitative and so cheap that it lands on our list of good bad movies without much effort at all.
After 4 movies the filmmakers asked themselves “what can Part V offer?” Their answer? More nudity, and more murders than any of the previous films in the franchise—a insane 22 deaths in 90 minutes by the time the credits roll (that’s a new corpse every four minutes, nerds).
But how to fill this insane bloodshed quota? Well Part V doesn’t just stick to randy teenage victims; entire tertiary characters and subplots are introduced are introduced and dispatched just to build the body count (including an almost impossibly obnoxious redneck mother and son). Needless to say: the plot is limited to say the least.
Profane, problematic (and slightly pornographic), Part V is also unbelievably entertaining: reports say the actors were never told it was to be a Friday the 13th until after they were on set, leaving some hilariously tone-deaf performances intact.