The Top 30 Best Worst Movies of All Time Part 3.
Without any further ado…
When one looks for a subtle performance, they don’t turn to Mickey Rooney. Running on piss and vinegar for over 90 years now, he’s the most crotchety old man of all time; a total blowhard who attacks each performance like a crazed animal feasting on raw meat.
In this horror film , he plays a former WWI flying Ace, who shot down the infamous Red Baron. But the Baron returns from the grave as a remote-controlled toy plane (yep) to take his revenge.
You can already tell the film will suck when you see the title sequence at the 15: sec mark. But be sure to go to :43 when you can see Mickey ham it up to his level best:
Godfrey Ho’s final entrance in the countdown. I needn’t go into plot detail, because all you need to know about why this movie rules is in this YouTube clip. It’s one of the most amazing things you’ll ever see. Watch it in its entirety. Do NOT skip it.
‘Manos: The Hands of Fate’ is another film considered the worst ever made. Written, directed and produced by a a insurance and fertilizer (how perfect) salesman from El Paso Tx in the late 60’s. Egregious continuity and editing flaws, and a meandering plot about a polygamist cult terrorizing a young couple make it a film that’s unusual at best and excruciating at worst. And it has a character named Torgo who will stay in your memory far longer than you’d wished:
‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’ did a great send up on this, which I highly recommend to help you get through it in one piece.
This film is so wrong. Shot on VHS tape, it’s about a demonic ventriloquist dummy who has a unsavory relationship with its female owner. This film has no redeeming value whatsoever, but it’s the car wreck of motion pictures; once you start watching it, you can’t stop. Some movies just work that way. It’s become a cult classic the world over for that reason.
Jim Brown’s is an ex-football player who’s had a varied career in Hollywood, but he’s best known for his roles in Blaxploitation films. In this film, he plays Slaughter, a former Green Beret who takes revenge on the mob who murdered his friend (played by the actor who was Punky Brewster’s Dad . He gets his head blown off in the opening scene). The crime boss is played by none other than Ed McMahon from ‘The Tonight Show’. Below is the original film trailer. Sadly the best scene wasn’t available on YouTube, you only get a sneak peek at the :24 second mark. You can find McMahon at 1:42. I wish I had more clips to do this film justice, but that’s all the more reason to discover its pleasure for yourself. I’m sure many folks felt ripped off by “Slaughter’s Big Rip Off” but not me!
My friend Jack turned me to on this film many years back, and I’ve been hooked on it ever since. He and I got into the habit of rewinding the worst parts again and again, amplifying the hilarity. Every clip show you see now does that trick, but I feel like we were pioneers!
I’m not going to go into Arnold Schwarzenegger’s lack of acting chops here. The man knew his limitations, but he didn’t let that stop him. But for every ‘Terminator’ there’s a ‘Jingle All The Way’. But ‘Raw Deal’ is the real deal. It’s competently directed, but Arnie derails it from the start.
He plays a small town sheriff, which right away puts away any suspension of disbelief. We later discover he’s a former FBI agent who wanted out for the quiet life. But that’s all over when his former superior FBI Chief (Darren McGavin, doing his best to class up the proceedings) asks him to go undercover to infiltrate the mob and avenge his murdered son.
Arnie’s known for his bad one-liners, but none match the ones below:
This 60’s flick, is produced and directed by William Castle, the best huckster in the history of cinema. He’s famous for promoting his cheap films with even chintzier marketing gimmicks. For ‘Tingler’, he had the theater chains showing his film, rig random seats to give a small electric shock when the title character came on the screen. Kids lined up, hoping to get buzzed. Vincent Price plays a scientist trying to discover how the human body process fear. Through experimenting with LSD he discovers that if you don’t scream, a creäture on your spine he dubs ‘The Tingler’ will kill you. I watch this at least once a year around Halloween. You should too. Check out the trailer:
Mickey Rooney once again makes the list.
All The ‘Silent Night Deadly Night’ films are pretty slip shod, but none are as ridiculous as this installment, where a crazed toy maker makes killer toys that slaughter his unsuspecting customers. He’s angry that he has no flesh and blood son, so he takes it out on those who do. See his name is Joe Petto, and his ‘son’s’ name is Pino Chio. Get it? Get it? Whoo boy.
Here’s the original trailer so you can see what you’re in for.
Clint Howard, B-movie heavyweight brother of Ron Howard, makes a brief cameo as a Dept. Store Santa’s Little Helper, thus cementing its crap stature.
It’s also worth mentioning that Rooney condemned the original ‘Silent Night Deadly Night’ for being offensive, only to appear in a sequel. Anything for a buck I guess.
Ed Wood is known as the worst director ever.But somehow he had a weird charm that permeated his films which makes them endearing in their incompetence. Between the lack of continuity, use of jarringly spliced stock footage and wooden dialogue, it casts a unique spell.
The plot revolves around Aliens who implement ‘Plan 9’ to reanimate the dead, which is supposed to discourage the scientists of Earth from creating nuclear weapons. I guess it made sense in his head.
Bela Lugosi was the lead, but he passed away during production. Having no money to recast and wanting to keep his footage of his only actor with marquee power, Wood used his wife’s chiropractor as his replacement, covering his face with a cape. Wood wasn’t the best creative problem solver.
My favorite clip is of one invader’s snobbish critique about human’s warlike nature:
If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out Tim Burton’s biopic ‘Ed Wood’. It’s ironic that his film about the worst director of all time is Burton’s best.
‘Kingdom” stars William Shatner, so already you know it has potential for great awfulness. He plays a veterinarian trying to combat an unexplained mass infestation of killer tarantulas in a small New Mexico town. Unintentional hilarity ensues. Check out these choice moments:
But the best clip doesn’t even need the Shat. It’s a brief scene of a pilot who is trying to spread pesticides to kill the spider hordes. Unfortunately he has some hidden passengers. I defy you to tell me a human who makes noises like this? This is stupendous:
When I was in college, my friend Damon and I went to the local video store, our goal to find the best of the worst. We’d look for whatever cover looked the worst (no internet luxury to research in those days). This was the first of many discoveries.
‘Black Shampoo’ tells the story of Mr. Jonathan, hairdresser extraordinaire with a demanding female clientele. Despite all his insatiable clients, he begins to grow stong feelings for his receptionist Brenda. When he discovers she’s a kept woman to a cruel mobster, he takes action. Mr Jonathan is played by John Daniels who’s acting style is so laid back, it appears he’s struggling to stay awake. Far more vibrant is his sidekick, flamboyant hairstylist Artie. He’s played by Skip E. Lowe, whose awkward and stilted performance is bewitching in its strangeness. This film is so hard to quantify, it’s off the charts. Unfortunately I couldn’t locate some individual scenes, but the trailer sets the tone:
I’ve never seen a film so lacking in purpose. ‘Mitchell’ goes nowhere, offers no character development, and has a diffuse, muted 70’s film stock better suited for Driver’s Ed films. Joe Don Baker plays the title character and he could be the most repugnant protagonist in film history. Slovenly, stupid, and lacking in class, he’s one for the ages.
This got the ‘MST3K’ treatment, and I really feel it’s their finest hour. They had some great material to skewer, and they rose to the occasion. Here’s a sample:
If you want to skip straight to the worst theme song ever and see Mitchell’s smooth skills with the ladies, check out this clip. Poor Linda Evans, I feel for her. Might as well be sharing a bed with a gorilla.
Speaking of MST3K, here’s our list of the 10 Best episodes.
1. ‘J.D.’s Revenge’
And here we arrive at #1. What makes this film have a stench that drowns out all other’s? Well the premise is quite goofy. A pimp from the 40’s inhabits a med student from the 70’s while he gets hypnotized at a supper club. From there on, we’re treated to the most over the top acting I’ve ever seen in a lead performance . Glynn Turman is the actor in question, and he’s shot out of a cannon (he was actually in the running for Han Solo. Wish I could find the audition tapes).
This clip will whet your whistle for what’s in store. (again there’s brief nudity, so NSFW). He beds a woman he met at a nightclub, only to be confronted by her husband who’s none too happy to find a strange man in his house:
I will forewarn, that there’s some subject matter in this film that shouldn’t be funny, but his performance renders laughter beyond control. Due to this, this film grabs the brass ring. It’s a one man show, and the lead is a wrecking ball.
So that’s my TOP 30….but we’re not quite done yet. A few films fell through the cracks due to so the clips are below with the titles. Let’s call them dishonorable mentions:
‘A Gnome Named Gnorm’
Not on DVD. No big loss. Wretched.
So there you have it. What’re your best/worst? Have you seen any of these? Chime in below…