21 Awful Movies That Were Supposed To Be Fantastic

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Who doesn’t love a bad movie? The only thing better than a self-aware, terrible movie is a bad movie trying to be good. We’ve all got that category of so-bad-its-good, and we’re here to provide some extra movie recs in that category just for you.

There’s a guilty pleasure in knowing that even some of the brightest, most talented filmmakers can flop sometimes, and these are the some biggest flops that were meant to be hits.

1. The Lawnmower Man (1992)

Photo Credit: Allied Vision.

It’s jarring to see a movie rated 5.4 on IMDb with Stephen King’s name attached, but one commenter claims the movie was so bad King sued to have his name removed from the film’s involvement.

The film was adapted from one of King’s books and was directed by Brett Leonard. This movie-watcher describes it as “bad, but it’s also strange, unpredictable, and fun.” They also cite that a scene in the movie about a monkey robocop had to be cut from the theatrical release because it was irrelevant to the rest of the film.

2. Who Killed Captain Alex? (2015)

Photo Credit: Ramon Film Productions.

Funnily enough, this terrible movie is rated 7.0 on IMDb because of the sheer amount of ironic 10s. One person jokes, “nothing but a true passion for cinema was poured into that movie.” Another user remarks, “They asked for terrible movies, not peak cinema.” Watching the amateur acting and terrible CGI in the trailer is a trip.

The synopsis of the film is beautifully ridiculous. The Ugandan president orders Captain Alex to defeat the Tiger Mafia but he dies trying. Alex’s brother investigates and vows to avenge his brother. We’re give it a solid 10 out of 10 for the trailer alone.

3. Battlefield Earth (2000)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

This film stars John Travolta and Forest Whitaker and is set in the year 3000, where the ruling alien race Psychlos has enslaved humanity. It’s based on the book by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology.

A connoisseur of terrible movies insists this is the gold standard of unintentionally bad films, calling it the stuff of legends. To encapsulate just how bad they think it is, we’ll leave you with this quote: “I simply couldn’t even fathom what perfect storm of events had to unfold to allow something so aggressively bad to exist on a multi-million dollar scale.” It’s quite possibly one of the lowest-rated films on IMDb, with a 2.5 rating.

4. Troll 2 (1990)

Photo Credit: Filmirage.

Troll 2 is a slight upgrade from the last film, at least earning a 2.9 IMDb rating. One individual thinks it gets funnier every time they watch it. The movie’s premise is a vacationing family discovers the town they’ve arrived at has been taken over by human-impersonating goblins who want to eat them.

A second user added more context, explaining the director was not a native English speaker but insisted the lines be spoken just as they were written.

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5. Samurai Cop (1991)

Photo Credit: Hollywood Royal Pictures.

Samurai Cop follows the lives of two police detectives who try to stop the Katana, a killer gang trying to lead the drug trade in L.A. The movie is famous for its supposedly fluent Japanese-speaking main character mispronouncing every other character’s name and uttering cringe lines.

When one character asks him what katana means, he responds, “It means Japanese sword.” The flat delivery is fantastic; we highly recommend this terrible gem, rated 4.6 on IMDb.

6. Zardoz (1958)

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

Rated 5.8 on IMDb, this X-rated film starring Sean Connery takes place in the late 23rd century. A savage who knows only how to kill is taken in by a bored community of immortals who are tasked with preserving man’s achievements. Someone says Zardoz fits the bill of an awful and amazing film.

Judging by the IMDb reviews, that assessment checks out. As one reviewer describes, it’s an “incredibly profound allegory disguised as a cheesy movie.” The trailer is simultaneously intriguing and disturbing.

7. The Fanatic (2019)

Photo Credit: Daniel Grodnik Productions.

Poor John Travolta — this is the second terrible movie on this list that he stars in. Directed by Fred Durst, this psychological thriller is about a rabid fan who, when cheated out of the opportunity to meet his favorite action hero, resorts to stalking and increasingly sinister methods of getting the star’s attention.

Someone comments this is easily one of the worst movies that weren’t intentionally meant to be terrible because it takes itself so seriously. One commenter gives it credit purely because everything the movie could have possibly done wrong, it got wrong, which is no easy feat. The Fanatic is rated 4.1 on IMDb.

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8. Cats (2019)

Photo Credit: The Really Useful Group.

This film went viral online for supplying the internet with endless amounts of cringe. Despite having a star-studded cast including James Corden, Judi Dench, Taylor Swift, and Jason Derulo, the CGI was bizarre, and the tone was weird.

Cats is based on the famous musical about a tribe of cats called the Jelicles who, every year, select one among them to ascend to the Heaviside Layer — a type of heaven-like rebirth for cats. One person who saw the movie on a date comments the movie was so bad it ended the relationship.

9. Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010)

Photo Credit: Moviehead Pictures.

There’s some debate over whether this film is intentionally bad, but one commenter insists it’s worse than The Room; the certifiable worst movie of all time. Another clarifies, “The director legitimately thinks he’s the next Hitchcock.”

This movie, directed by James Nguyen, is about a flock of mutated birds descending upon a quiet California town, causing casualties. Two citizens fight back against the birds. The movie is an homage to Hitchcock’s The Birds but with terrible directing and CGI. It stands at a shockingly low 1.7 on IMDb.

10. The Happening (2008)

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

This movie singlehandedly destroyed both M Night Shyamalan and Mark Wahlberg’s careers. It’s about a science teacher and his family trying to survive a plague that somehow causes those infected by a plant neurotoxin to commit suicide. Most of the ridiculousness of this movie can be attributed to the awful writing and delivery of the lines.

A final moviegoer recited the famous line, “What? Noooo!” which is uttered by Wahlberg’s character in response to a woman who asks if he’s going to murder her in her sleep. It’s hilarious because the line is supposed to be believable but is delivered more like an SNL skit.

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11. Maximum Overdrive (1986)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

This film is based on a short story by Stephen King in which Earth crosses a comet’s tail and then all machines become sentient. As a premise, it’s not bad. Stephen King himself was directing, and AC/DC wrote the whole soundtrack for the movie. Overall, it came away with a campy feel instead of the intended thriller/horror experience, and even King disowned it after the fact.

12. The Room (2003)

Photo Credit: Wiseau-Films.

The Room is yet another box office failure that gained a cult following in the years after its release. This one didn’t just regain some popularity though, it actually inspired the writing of the book The Disaster Artist, which was Greg Sestero’s memoir of making the film. The film itself is meant to be a romantic drama, but retroactively its been called and received as a black comedy, which is a pretty appropriate way of redeeming a movie that didn’t set out to succeed on the first go-round. Full marks for that comeback!

13. I Know Who Killed Me (2007)

Photo Credit: TriStar Pictures.

This movie is an intriguing one, but its attempt to be a thriller movie went a little to far with matching wounds between sisters; as one was tortured, the other suffered similar injuries and scars. But despite being a flop at the box office, this film piqued interest with its unique psychological elements. Over time, its fanbase has grown, and we’d say if you’re into psychological thriller/slasher films, this one might be for you!

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14. Atlantic Rim (2013)

Photo Credit: The Asylum.

This movie is meant to be a parody of the movie Pacific Rim. So although it’s not a movie to really take seriously in its own right, if you’re into a good mockery of Warner Bros, then this might just be the film for you. It’s full of dramatic and unbelievable graphics, at least not state-of-the-art for 2013.

15. Serenity (2019)

Photo Credit: Blue Budgie Films Limited.

This thriller film is … all in your head. Much like the movie Atonement (2007), most of the plot simply isn’t really happening. It’s made up by one of the characters within the movie. In reality, much of the movie is simply a video game created by one of the side characters. It’s almost a fascinating premise, but it fell short at the box office, despite featuring Anne Hathaway and Michael McConaughey in the leading roles. You’ll have to give this one a watch for yourself: is it so-bad-it’s-good, or too little known?

16. Ishtar (1987)

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

The film Ishtar is about two singer-songwriters who simply aren’t that good. But they get a gig singing in Morocco, and on their way, go through the fictional country of Ishtar. As they try to simply make it to the hotel where they’re supposed to sing, they get tangled in a cold-war fight between the CIA and guerilla soldiers, both of whom use the two men and also try to get rid of them. It’s a comedy of errors, and despite its terrible ratings in the 80s when it was released, this film has been growing in popularity every since.

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17. Miami Connection (1987)

Photo Credit: P.J.K. Group.

This film involves passion and romance, college boys who’ve formed a band, and martial arts and substances. It’s one hundred percent classic cheesy 80s, and we can see why it flopped then. But when it was re-released in 2012, the movie gained a cult following. As a serious movie, it doesn’t come close to success, but as a cheesy vintage film, it’s top-notch. This is one to add to your lists.

18. The Swarm (1978)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

This film is literally about a military fight against a swarm of giant killer bees. Yes, actually. We’re not hating on this one too much; the premise alone makes it seem like a movie that would be nearly impossible to do well. It would take a lot of credibility to convince your audience to take seriously the idea of a militant swarm of bees gradually taking over Texas. This one seems to have landed in the so-bad-its-good category almost immediately.

19. The Wicker Man (2006)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

The Wicker Man was intended to be a horror, but it ended up ranking much higher as a comedy. Nic Cage has a multitude of one-liners in this movie that were meant to be terrifying, but they end up being comedic gold. Cage is usually a top-notch performer, but this movie went a little to hard into the unbelievable and ended up losing its audience altogether.

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20. Showgirls (1995)

Photo Credit: MGM.

Showgirls takes on a serious topic by talking about the dance industry in Las Vegas. The film intended to tell a dramatic story about the show biz, betrayals, and climbing to the top while also delivering a fascinating story of revenge and relationship. But it seems the movie went too hard and yet not hard enough. When it first opened, many viewers found it impossible to take the movie seriously, but a few decades later it’s become a cult classic, and people have listed it among their so-bad-its-good favorites.

21. Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS (1975)

Photo Credit: Aeteas Filmproduktions.

This film is about a Nazi death camp during WWII, run by a woman named Ilsa. The subject matter is heavy and dark, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.

One commenter stated, “It’s a horrible, horrible film, but I once watched an interview with the actress who explained its existence quite well … even if the results weren’t the arthouse masterpiece that they intended, then they were at least trying to make something good.”

Source: Reddit.


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