The Worst

So here I am near the Texas coast, waiting to drown. Or at least that is what the media is telling me. So what better time to poke my head in, as I promised last time? Anyway, there’s something I’ve been working on over at Letterboxd, off and on, for a while now.

It’s a list called The Worst. If you’re not interested in clicking over, its basic reason for living has to do with people complaining that something relatively innocuous is “The worst movie ever made” which is usually followed by my “Eh, I’ve seen worse” which, in turn, is followed by “Then what is the worst movie you’ve ever seen?”

That is a more complicated question than you might think.

Y’see, I’ve been purposely watching “bad” movies for decades, and truthfully I almost always find something to enjoy in each one, even if it’s just grist for the sarcasm mill. But there are some movies that do not even offer that, and watching those is like a season in hell.

Again, if you’re interested in clicking over and seeing pretty pictures, here’s the list. There’s a lot of low-budget and even shot-on-video stuff, which may make some cry foul, those should not be held to such lofty expectations, but once more I say bullshit. At the risk of repeating myself, the covenant between myself and a movie, any movie, is that The Movie agrees to entertain me, and  agree to be entertained. I’m an easy mark, but even the big budget players on the list couldn’t manage it. The little blue titles mean you can buy them on Amazon, if you don’t believe me. Some you will just have to take my word.

  1. The Avengers – the 1998 version. On paper, a sure thing. An update of one of my favorite shows with Uma Thurman replacing my first crush, Diana Rigg, and Ralph Fiennes doing his best Patrick Macnee. On celluloid, sheer misery.
  2. Ballistic: Ecks vs Sever – How do you manage to take a movie with Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu and somehow make it terrible?
  3. Blackenstein – now we’re getting into the low-budget strata. I wrote about this back at the turn of the century, and some took it as a challenge.  They regretted that. And now its available on blu-ray.
  4. Doctor Gore – some of the low-budget exercises in gore are amusing if you’re a gorehound (yeah, guilty), but some are simply dreadful. Which brings us to:
  5. Blood Cult – shot on video, presumably the very first made-specifically-for-the-video-market horror movie, but not the last. Overlong even at 89 minutes and unengaging.
  6. Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness?– No. There, I just saved you and hour and 47 minutes of vanity musical and odd celebrity cameos. I tried to warn you about this one, too. As Victor Spinetti says, “I blame Fellini for this.”
  7. Dondi – The Medveds tried to warn us about this.
  8. Escape from Galaxy 3 – bought all the special effects scenes from Starcrash and got marketed as Starcrash 2.
  9. Intercessor – Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare is a fun waste of time with good music. Its sequel – 18 years after the original – is not.
  10. The Magic Christmas Tree – some low-budget kiddie fare is so demented in their cheapness that thy’re adorable. this one isn’t.
  11. Monster A-Go-Go – an unfinished movie finished by H.G. Lewis that, even in its theatrical form, is still unfinished. I think the MST3K guys considered it even worse than Manos.
  12. The Mummy – the Tom Cruise one. Don’t get me started because I’m probably doing this one for Hubrisween.
  13. Nukie – one of my war crimes is helping a visiting Chris Stomp Tokyo Holland find a copy of this at my favorite used movie store. For my sins, David Harlan dropped it on me at a Crapfest.
  14. The Ripper – another video-to-video thriller from the people who brought you Blood Cult, proving they learned nothing. Except how to blackmail Tom Savini into an extended cameo so they (of course) could give him top billing and move more units.
  15. The Roller Blade Seven – God, the wounds are still fresh from this one.
  16. Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny – if you want to have fun, run a betting pool as to exactly when in the movie the Ice Cream Bunny shows up. There are also two versions of this, which is, in itself, another war crime.
  17. Science Crazed – the return of video, and Doug Tilley’s favorite movie. This is a dangerous individual.
  18. Sex Kittens Go to College – Albert Zugsmith strikes again! (he also directed Dondi) There is nothing worse than an unfunny comedy. This was the 2am soul crusher at the last B-Fest I attended, due to it being the more explicit version where strippers dance for a robot. How can this be bad, you might ask. Have you ever seen Orgy of the Dead?
  19. H.G. Wells’ The Shape of Things to Come – has nothing to do with Wells’ book and everything to do with a rush to cash in on that sweet sweet Star Wars money.
  20. Sorority House Vampires – see unfunny comedies, above, and add even more boobage.
  21. Spine – shot on video slasher flick made by people who I’m pretty sure made bondage porn previously.  Keep your murder cash-ins out of my kink, please.
  22. Star Odyssey – another Italian attempt to cash in on Star Wars with a cast of characters that should have led to better results.
  23. The Star Wars Holiday Special – oh, you knew this was coming.
  24. The Tuxedo – Hollywood seemed to have an absolute passion for wasting Jackie Chan’s talents, and this one is the worst.
  25. Wild Wild West – Hollywood also can’t make a decent steampunk movie. I saw it at a dollar cinema and still felt cheated.

There. Now I feel no need to answer that question for at least another year or so. See you after the disaster.


  1. Someone once tried to insist to me that “Abby” was worse than “Blackenstein”. There were very nearly fisticuffs. One of these is very cheap (and only exists in terrible prints), but frequently entertaining, the other is possibly the dullest film I have ever forced myself to sit through (and by a million miles the dullest Blaxploitation horror flick ever).

    In other words, while several of these have caused me pain, Blackenstein was my bad movie Waterloo.

    • ABBY worse than BLACKENSTEIN? Stuff and nonsense!

  2. Hmmm. Oh, you HAVE to survive the great flood, pal. I ordered a copy of Forever Evil (finally!) and I’m not forging your signature on it. Oh, that list is pretty much on target.

    • Oh, that’s right. I forgot a movie for the list. Be right back. (zoom)

  3. Ugh…The Shape of Things to Come. I enjoy Star Wars coattails; heck, I was the pre-teen target audience for them. But I still have scars from seeing that one even though it’s a bit more than decade ago. Sparks the Odious Comic Relief Robot, extreme boredom, incompetence on screen and off, and a sudden spurt of violence that comes out of nowhere partway through. Pain, pain, pain.

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