In this, the age of media saturation, watching a bad movie has become something we do for pleasure, instead of by accident. Now we can seek out horrible things to watch and even argue about what’s the worst! Isn’t living in the future great kids? Ah, but by what criteria do we judge what is worst? Therein lies the problem. Just by ratings the worst 5 movies (as of this writing) on IMDB are:
- Jurassic Shark – A direct to DVD monster movie that only had a theatrical release in India.
- Saving Christmas– A Kirk Cameron vehicle about keeping Jesus in Christmas, and includes “facts” like how Christmas trees aren’t pagan at all.
- Code Name: K.O.Z. – A Turkish spy movie. I had to go beyond IMDB for this one, and even the Wikipedia page doesn’t appear in English…
- Courageous – An extremely low-budget Bollywood film.
- Birdemic: Shock and Terror – You may have heard of this one, but the main complaint I hear is the “effects are terrible.” Of course they are! Did you read the title? I’d be more surprised if they were great.
(Update: These have changed. Feel free to follow along and see which of the new top 5 don’t make the cut!)
I have no doubt that each of these movies are dreadful, but I couldn’t consider them The Worst, because they are each playing by different rules. In my mind only one of these even has a chance at being the worst movie ever, because four of these things barely qualify as movies. Below you’ll find my solution to that problem.
These rules are a guideline to picking and comparing movies by varying degrees of badness, and also making sure your terrible movie experience is as fun as possible… Sharkando 3 is not a “bad movie,” guys, simply because it isn’t a movie at all. So with that in mind here are my personal rules for picking a bad movie:
1- A theatrical release
If a movie didn’t get a theatrical release, that means that the people behind it didn’t think it was worth advertising the film. They basically decided they would rather wait till people watch it accidentally via home video or Netflix. If they don’t care about it, there’s probably nothing worth seeing.
However if a bad movie has had a theatrical release it means that someone believed in this movie enough to buy advertising, print posters, send it to theaters and charge people for the pleasure of seeing it once.
2- No blatant cash grabs
Similarly blatant cash grabs don’t count because no one really cared about this movie in the first place, not one person was actually attempting to create something. These movies were not filmed, but manufactured. Complaining that these movies are bad is like complaining that spray can cheese is bad. What are you expecting?
Cash Grab Categories:
Sequels. Sequels are predisposed to being awful because generally they aren’t planned and a filmmaker is offered huge sums of money to make one even though they only really had one good idea. See also prequels. Can you blame George Lucas for making Episode I? It was basically free money, and he’d already used up his good ideas. And studios only make sequels because they know the public will watch them, so whose fault is it really?
“Fool Your Grandmother” movies. Anything by Asylum, makers of every movie that sounds like you saw it in theatres counts under this heading as it is all they do. Asylum never really expects anyone to watch Transmorphers. They just expect to make enough money from grandmothers buying the wrong movie at Christmas.
Parodies and “Genre Comedies.” These are really the same as above but they’re basically just making the same movies except filled with unfunny jokes and ultra low budgets. Basically only Mel Brooks ever knew how to do a parody right anyway.
3- No comedies!
Drama – Quality = Comedy
But Comedy – Quality = Misery
You don’t really want to listen to someone tell bad jokes for two hours, do you?
4- It must squander all advantages
You can only use this to judge badness. Just as a movie can be excellent because its makers made the most out of their small budget and limited effects, to be truly bad a movie has to squander every possible advantage it has. It’s not fair calling something bad if it was made by a college student in Russia for $10. If someone makes a good movie with that it would be an achievement, if you make a bad movie with that, it’s expected.
This rule knocks out any movies that are bad because they’re “foreign”. Foreign cinema has different standards, conventions and limitations. Something has to be extremely terrible in order to overcome that, bad in a way that transcends culture. This also applies to movies that are made by/for a niche audience: Christian movies, Sci-fi channel movies, Lifetime movies, etc. It’s not fair to call a Christian movie the worst thing ever when that studio only accepts scripts from Christian filmmakers about Christian themes. They aren’t playing with the same deck.
5- Someone had to try
This is the key to having a great bad movie experience. Just one person, who believed in the movie enough to give it their best shot. Whether it’s a classically trained actor who is acting his heart out of a terrible script, or a set designer who has amazing potential. A brilliant director desperately trying to salvage horrible performances. It’s the glimmers of hope which make a truly terrible movie.
I ask you, dear reader, to keep these rules in mind as you follow me down the dark and unholy rabbit hole we’ll call Bad Movies with Brad. Sometimes we’ll adhere to these rules heavily, sometimes I’ll break one to show you a glorious exception to the rule. Sometimes I’ll show you the brutal aftermath of exposing these films to human test subjects, or as I call them: my fellow Killer Moose.
And maybe someday I’ll have a whole vault of these films that I can show Hollywood whenever they decide to remake them.