Four Stupid Movies

by AnomalousArtist

Movies...sometimes a "shared dream," often a shared nightmare...occasionally, unbelievably stupid!

When it comes to movies everyone has personal tastes as to what is "good" or "bad." Some films that have been deemed the worst ever made are beloved by certain fans and have ravenous cult followings ("Xanadu" "Mommie Dearest," "Showgirls"), and who is to say? One person's junk is another person's jewelry.

Below I've listed five films that may be good or bad and may or may not be loved by fans (including myself in a couple cases) but they are movies that are undeniably...stupid! To the point of being indefensible! Feel free to let me know if you disagree, and try not to be offended if I've chosen a favorite (however unlikely!), consider; if a movie is remembered for being the worst film ever made it's still...remembered! As Oscar Wilde is quoted as saying, "The only thing worse than being talked about is NOT being talked about," and nowhere is that more true than in Hollywood!

Behold, in no particular order, five awesomely stupid movies:

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1) "Plan 9 From Outer space" (1959) Directed by Ed Wood Jr.

I begin my list with an easy one, a film of legendary badness.  Quoting Scarlett Johanssen in 2001's cult film "Ghost World," this film is "so bad it's gone past good and back to bad again."  I've met a lot of people who are fond of this famous, confusing, wacky mélange of no-budget 50s science fiction and horror (including this author), I've never met anyone who tried to defend it as being a "good" movie (there is, however, a great review by cult film historian Danny Peary who makes an effective case that the film a logical and well-thought-out treatise on ecological conservativism...go figure!).  Of course, Tim Burton's 1994 biography film on the life of legendary bad filmmaker and eccentric "Ed Wood" did the ultimate in surrealism, celebrating bad film to the point of making a GOOD film about the subject, making a terrible filmmaker a hero and legend!

But that's not the point I'm making point is simple:  "Plan 9 From Outer Space" is a truly stupid movie!  There's something almost joyful about how resoundingly amateurish, ill-conceived and poorly executed it is as it details the story of grave robbers from outer space who have some mission in mind to save the people of earth from themselves...all with nothing more than the aid of a resurrected "Vampira," Tor Johnson and a Bela Lugosi stand-in (don't ask!) stumbling around a tacky graveyard set with cardboard grave stones.  The film contains some of the most wonderful unintentionally funny dialog ever written ("But one thing's sure. Inspector Clay is dead, murdered, and somebody's responsible").   The "acting" is all played straight as can be, the mind-numbingly bad dialog is delivered with utter sincerity by the talentless cast of (mostly) amateurs and the film is shot something like a grade school know friends and family would be thrilled but anyone outside the immediate circle would shudder. 

Despite the accolades the movie has gotten over the years for it's "so bad it's good" entertainment value it really is a truly stupid movie that sets the bar for just how bad something can be and still be recognized as a "film."

The best of the worst dialog scenes from "Plan 9"

(This isn't a parody, this is the real film!!")
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2) "Manos: the Hands Of Fate" (1966) Director: Harold P. Warren

Known mostly as the subject of mirth in one of the most beloved episodes of the classic bad-film celebration show "Mystery Science Theater 3000" from the 90s, "Manos" is a film so jaw-droppingly bad it's almost unwatchable--I'm not sure it WOULD be watchable without the commentary of the guys from space in the Comedy Central show. 

The movie, which looks like it cost about 17 cents, has something to do with an obnoxious family who stop at the Wrong Desert Hotel (in this case, inhabited by a "Prince Of Darkness"-esque character played by the film's "auteur") and are subsequently punished for their stupidity, as is the audience, with terrible acting, ugly, cheap sets and a cat fight between a group of unfortunate bimbo concubines. 

The product of a dare by an insurance salesman, would-be writer/director/producer/actor Harold P. Warren to future award-winning screenwriter Stirling Siliphant (disaster films of the 70s), Warren claimed he could make a popular horror film with next to no budget.  In some ways he was proven right--the film is popular in bad film circles, certainly, but for all the wrong reasons! 

The problems on set are legendary to people interested in such things...technical glitches, disgruntled performers and crew, ineptness at every level...but many viewers cite the character of "Tobor" for pushing the film into bad film history.  Tobor is a would-be Igor to our evil villain's "mad-scientist," and you can't take your eyes off him...for one thing, he's dressed inexplicably in a costume that distorts his legs--apparently the original intent was to make him look like a satyr (i.e., have goat legs).  More interestingly, the actor playing the character, John Reynolds, was apparently on LSD during filming and gives a twitching, bewildered performance the equal of a train-wreck...awful as it is, you just can't look away.  Some research shows that Mr. Reynolds had a troubled life and died young, and never recovered completely from filming.  Yes...from filming...Manos: Hands Of Fate! (and just f.y.i., "Manos" is Spanish for "hands," so the literal title of this opus is "Hands: Hands Of Fate," which gives you just a clue of the stupid fun to be had watching this truly wretched cinematic offal!)

The appearance of "Torgo!"

Manos, the Hands of Fate

It's Shocking! It's Beyond Your Imagination!

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3) "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (1978) Director Michael Schultz

I've gone in circles with this one with people and come to the conclusion that, while my brother and I loved it (mostly because of the music) when it played on TV when we were kids, this is an epic stupid film! 

Crass and brash in both concept and execution, this loud and garish sung-through musical based on the classic music of the Beatles was an attempt by Robert Stigwood and company to repeat the enormous success they'd had with "Saturday Night Fever" and "Grease."  The idea, loosely based on a long-forgotten off-Broadway production, ties together an endless parade of Beatles classics, all taken out of context from the original albums, and put to the service of telling the tedious tale of the meteoric rise and gentle fall of a band played by The Bee Gees (with Peter Frampton thrown in to round out a new "fab four").

I have read director Schultz's ("Cooley High," "Car Wash" and an endless list of respectable TV credits) thoughts on his film and my hat is tipped to him; the pressure to create a gi-normous hit was insurmountable and he did his best to create something unique, a "music video" film before music videos were commonplace (see also Ken Russell's brilliant 1975 film "Tommy").  But there's no denying this is one stupid movie...characters run around like The Keystone Cops in silent films, dressed in costumes that were retina-searing and ugly even at the time (I lived through the 70s, I remember!).  The flimsy ties to the original songs (the female protagonist is named "Strawberry Fields," the villain is "Mean Mr. Mustard," oh dear) and the haphazard way they are strung together, not to mention the disco/funk re-imaginings of many of the songs by original Beatles producer George Martin had classic rock fans grinding their teeth in disgust.  Audiences stayed away in droves and the film became a legendary Hollywood flop. 

As I said, as kids my brother and I always enjoyed the music in the movie, the bright colors, the cartoony element (and I still defend Aerosmith's "Come Together," Earth Wind And Fire's "Got To Get You Into My Life" and others).  But look no further than the grotesque climactic ending starring every has-been or never-was of the 1970s fighting to mug for the camera for proof that this is one of the stupidest big-budget movies ever lensed!

A stupefying, star-studded, 70s disco climax!

Almost 10 years before "We Are The World!"
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4) "Troll 2" (1990) Director: Claudio Fragasso

On the other end of the spectrum is one of the stupidest LOW budget movies ever filmed! 

The 80s are filled with terrible low-budget horror films but my focus here is on the STUPIDEST movies ever made, and "Troll 2" may top the certainly gives "Plan 9 From Outer Space" a good run for its money in the race to the bottom of the barrel!

Helmed by renowned low-budget hack filmmaker Fragasso, legend has it the director and his crew came directly from Italy to Morgan, Utah to shoot a run-of-the-mill low-budget horror film.  For most of the 80s and 90s horror was seen as a cheap and easy way to get film "product" out there and cash in on the home video rental market.  The film has nothing to do with another movie of the era called "Troll" (in fact, the costumed "creatures" in "Troll 2" are goblins) and was clearly done to make a fast buck. 

Fragasso hired local talent, all non-actors, and gave them either bad or non-existent direction, depending on who you talk to (a great documentary was made about the film, 2009's "Best Worst Movie").  The acting "style" and incomprehensible, laughable dialog, which sounds like bad translations from Italian to English (and apparently was), make the film defiantly, boldy, confidently stupid; the presence of at least two cast members who were, or would soon be, mentally unstable pushes the project into camp film history.

The "plot" concerns a family that stumbles into the wrong town ("Nilbog!"  Spelled backwards is...?) and encounters a village of voracious *vegetarian* goblins who turn their prey into trees before consuming them (the literal explanation for this appears to be that censors were cracking down on bloody films at the time and the plot device gave an excuse to show long as it was green!).  Along the way we are submitted to the "living" ghost of a beloved grandfather, a daughter who does an aerobics routine in front of a mirror, some of the cheapest and most ineffective creature costumes ever invented and acting so bad Youtube hits of clips from the film have hit the four million mark.  Oh yes, and a scene where the lead child protagonist is urged to relieve himself into his family's dinner, but let's not go there!

I personally find the film interminable--not even bad enough to be funny, I find it just plain boring, but it may screen better with an appreciative audience.  One thing is for sure, as a film, from screenplay through to the final product,  it's insurmountably stupid! 

"Troll 2" summed up in one short clip:

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5) "Voodoo Academy" (2001) David DeCoteau

It's rather risky listing this one on a family-friendly site as I can't get too detailed about why this "movie" is infamous...I can only talk about why it is STUPID, and I will!

Director DeCoteau is well known in the low-budget film world for pumping out an endless stream of bad, sleazy but fairly profitable no-budget movies.  He helped make 80s "Scream Queens" like Linnea Quigley household names in fanboy/Comic-con circles in that decade. 

Having officially come out of the closet since then, he has since created a cottage industry out of making beefcake direct-to-video flesh shows filled with hunky, dimwitted, half-dressed himbos running around in nothing but boxer briefs in an endless series of films thinly disguised as "horror." 

First, and worst, among these, perhaps, is the awful, tedious and incompetently made "Voodoo Academy." Having something to do with an impossible-to-believe boy's school and a voodoo curse from a vampire-like villainess, all of this is just an excuse for the director to showcase handsome, fit young men without their shirts (and sometimes pants).  While never going further than PG-13 territory this film and its subsequent sequels made a lot of noise in the early 00's when they were commonly available at the notoriously conservative Blockbuster chain.  Fans of horror were renting the movie thinking they were getting one thing and even the most dense viewer began to get the "creeping" feeling they were seeing something else altogether (IN the altogether!) after the first 15 minutes or so. 

Depending on your preferences this was either a good or bad thing (certainly it was a change from the typical "half-naked woman in peril" scenario that usually permeates this genre of film) but more to the point..."Voodoo Academy" is stupid from start to finish!  Filled with clueless, idiotic characters (poorly acted, natch), shoddy video camerawork and editing, beyond amateur "special" effects and an incomprehensible, unrewarding storyline, to watch the film is to feel one's i.q. dropping exponentially by the minute; the dialog and acting are so tone-deaf one's brain aches for years after the fact (trust me on this one!) and the whole exercise leaves you longing for the days when movies were more expensive to be made so films like this could NOT be made.

Having said that, this film has spawned an endless line of sequels and related titles and having seen the "director's cut," which includes an interminable scene of the young heroes of the story writhing around in their underwear in bed having "nightmares," I understand the appeal to certain audiences and don't fault the director for cashing in on an apparently lucrative fetish market.  I just reiterate...he's made a really, REALLY stupid movie in "Voodoo Academy!"

Stupid them or leave them, laugh with them or laugh at them, but like an obnoxious relative at a party, you just can't ignore them...and they will NEVER go away!

Voodoo Academy

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Updated: 07/25/2013, AnomalousArtist
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AnomalousArtist on 07/27/2013

Don't say you weren't's really stupid! :)

Thamisgith on 07/26/2013

I like the Sound of "Plan 9". Never seen it - but I will watch it now after your review!

AnomalousArtist on 07/25/2013

Thanks! Sometimes you just have to...laugh (or something) hee hee...

EliasZanetti on 07/25/2013

A nice and fun read that I enjoyed!

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