Hard Ticket to Hawaii
By now we've all heard the phrase “So bad it's good” in reference to unintentionally hilarious low budget films that are wildly entertaining for all the wrong reasons. I like to think of myself as an expert on good bad movies, and over the years I've tried to find the best worst and/or worst best films out there. Let's take a moment to examine the different types of awesomely bad movies.

A. Completely incompetent: Low budget, bad acting, bad writing, shitty special effects, continuity errors and technical mistakes galore. These glorious failures are hilariously bad entirely by accident.

B. Completely tasteless: These types of movies generally have more self-awareness of their own trashiness, they just don't care. Plot holes and budget constraints are usually smoothed over with gratuitous sex and/or massive gore.

C. Completely ridiculous: Implausible plot lines that make absolutely no sense, explained through even more implausible dialogue and bizarre random events. May or may not be played straight depending on how medicated and/or pretentious the director is at the time.

D. Completely insane: A surreal mix of types A through C.

Here we go…

20. R.O.T.O.R. (1988, USA)

Directed by: Cullen Blaine
Genre: Sci-fi/action/horror
Bad movie type: Completely incompetent

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R.O.T.O.R. movieThis is the absolute worst of the best of the worst. Do not attempt to watch this movie without the presence of a professional heckler. It's the sort of movie that straddles the line between “so bad it's good” and “so bad it's painful.” R.O.T.O.R. is quite simply the worst Robocop rip-off ever made. But it's more than that. It's also the worst Terminator knock-off ever made. Don't ever pay money to see this unless you got it in a 50-pack of public domain movies like I did. While you're at it, pick up a set that also contains Hands of Steel, the second worst Terminator knock-off ever made.

R.O.T.O.R. is the story of a cowboy slash police captain slash robot scientist named Coldyron (pronounced cold iron) who invents a Judge Dredd-style Terminator/Robocop type thing to murder criminals in the future. The robot cop is called R.O.T.O.R., which stands for Robotic something something gibberish bullshit who cares. Like any good 80's action figure, R.O.T.O.R. comes with a gun, a motorcycle, a pair of sunglasses, and a mustache.

In fact, it makes no difference what this movie is about. The important question is, “Why does it suck and who can we blame?”

Richard Gesswein, the star of the film, has no other movies to his credit. So he's off the hook. Jayne Smith, the freakishly muscle-bound actress who played Dr. Steele, went on to play Mary Turd in Flesh Gordan Meets the Cosmic Cheerleaders (1990). I'm not ashamed to admit that I own that movie, but I'm not proud of it either. As for the director Cullen Blaine, well, he's a fucking cartoonist. No shit. He did storyboards for Garfield and Friends. I can't hate a guy that draws Garfield for a living. He doesn't even make movies at all except for this one. Then I checked out the screenplay writer, Budd Lewis, and holy shit it's another goddamn cartoonist. This one has Care Bears on his resume. Care Bears. For real. I'm not making this stuff up.


 

19. Hard Ticket to Hawaii (1987, USA)

Directed by: Andy Sidaris
Genre: Titties/explosions
Bad movie type: Completely insane

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Hard Ticket to Hawaii Imagine what it would be like if Michael Bay and Lloyd Kaufman teamed up to make a softcore porno/action movie while extremely high on coke. It would probably be filled with dumb topless girls, pointless explosions, inept acting, numerous plot holes, bad kung fu, sex toys, machine guns, rocket launchers, terrible puns, a giant rubber snake, and, oh I don't know, a guy getting killed with a frisbee covered in razor blades or something.

It would probably look exactly like this:

Okay, I'm going to attempt to explain the plot of what you just saw in case it wasn't perfectly clear from that highlight clip. Stop me if your head begins to hurt. Dumb Blonde Number One is a DEA agent trying to bust a diamond smuggling operation. Dumb Blonde Number Two is in the witness protection program for reasons never explained, which somehow makes her an honorary DEA agent who gets to pal around with Dumb Blonde Number One as they fight crime and chase down an escaped killer snake full of poisonous toxic waste. They are armed with nunchuks and shurikens yet seem to have no idea how to use them. They also spend an exorbitant amount of time in hot tubs, showering, or having sex with equally dumb male DEA agents. Okay, show of hands, who can tell me why none of that makes sense?

Welcome to the mind of Andy Sidaris, the man who practically invented the titties and explosions film genre. Andy was a visionary. In a time where movie goers usually had to choose between sex or violence, he said, “No. We should have both.” Unfortunately his films were good at neither. If you're not familiar with his movies, why not stroll down to your local K-mart where you can purchase his entire life's work for five bucks in the form of a DVD set called Guns, Girls, and G-strings. Just one of many reasons why the terrorists hate us.

R.I.P. Andy Sidaris (1931-2007). He died at age 76, probably in an awesome explosion aboard a yacht full of centerfold models.


 

18. The Nail Gun Massacre (1985, USA)

aka “Carnage”
aka “Texas Nail Gun Massacre”

Directed by: Bill Leslie and Terry Lofton
Genre: Horror
Bad movie type: Completely incompetent

Watch trailer (NSFW):

Nailgun MassacresIf you ever want to see a really awesome revenge flick about a masked vigilante killing New York street punks with a flamethrower, check out a movie called The Exterminator 2 (1984). If you ever want to see a really terrible revenge flick about a masked vigilante killing hick town rednecks with a nail gun, then this is your movie. The acting level of this film is somewhere between amateur porn and local furniture store commercial. I'm guessing the casting call was just a lady in a bikini ringing a bell and giving out free donuts.

Best line: “Do you remember when you could sit outside and not worry about the mosquitoes and the killers?” -Old lady at country store.

Now don't get me wrong, mosquitoes are a bitch, but I'm pretty sure getting shot in the dick or tits (pick one) with a nail gun would suck a lot worse. Then again I also think it would take more than a few randomly placed nails to actually kill someone. Maybe I'm wrong, though. Maybe this guy was using special poison nails, who knows. What I do know is, his murder puns weren't very good.


 

17. 1990: The Bronx Warriors (1982, Italy)

Directed by: Enzo G. Castellari
Genre: Action
Bad movie type: Completely ridiculous

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1990: The Bronx Warriors

This was almost a really great movie. It's got bikers, gang war, horse cops with flame throwers, post-apocalyptic pimps, thugs on roller skates, and inexplicable drum solos.

The plot is a mash-up of The Warriors, Mad Max, and Escape From New York. Of all the “spaghetti apocalypse” films from Italy in the 80's, this one was probably the most colorful and ambitious. And maybe if they went with a leading man that was on par with someone like Kurt Russell or Mel Gibson, then this movie could have been something truly fantastic. But instead they went with this guy:

Enter Mark Gregory as Trash. Now in his defense, he was seventeen, English was probably his second language and Bronx wasn't his best accent. But seriously, everything about the guy is just awkward and hilarious. In the sequel, Escape from the Bronx (Italy was the king of the low budget rip-off long before Asylum Entertainment was cranking out Transmorphers and Snakes on a Train), you'll notice they don't let this guy talk as much. But with lines like, “You fuck, listen, it could be a pile of shit out of somebody's asshole,” what more needs to be said?

See also:

2019: After the Fall of New York

Warriors of the Wasteland


 

16. Top Line (1988, Italy)

aka “Alien Terminator”

Directed by: Nello Rossati
Genre: Action/adventure/sci-fi
Bad movie type: Completely ridiculous

Watch trailer (in German):

Topline (movie)Top Line is an action adventure flick along the lines of Raiders of the Lost Ark or Romancing the Stone, but with cyborgs and lizard people. Of course, none of them really show up until the end. Mostly this movie is about a drunken, washed up writer (Franco Nero of the original Django film) as he is chased around Columbia by various assholes trying to kill him. At one point he hitches a ride with the world's drunkest drunk driver and his even more drunk wife on the back of a chicken truck. They cause several wrecks and they never stop laughing. The scene goes on for about ten minutes. Also a cyborg gets killed by a bull at some point later in the movie.

Strangely enough, one of the most enjoyable aspects of this movie is the soundtrack. I don't know, there's just something festive and soothing about it like the whole movie was an ad for Carnival Cruise Vacations.


 

15. Bad Taste (1987, New Zealand)

Directed by: Peter Jackson
Genre: Horror/splatter/comedy
Bad movie type: Completely tasteless (obviously)

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Bad TasteThis blood and vomit spewing volcano of crap, believe it or not, was the very first film by Pete Hobbit Lover Jackson. As in Lord of the fucking Rings. And shut the fuck up, film nerds, I wasn't talking to you. I know you already knew that.

Somebody saw this movie and said, “We should give that guy a hundred million dollars. After all, the guy can make a movie for fifty bucks and a pack of smokes, so why not?” But then the producers probably watched Dead Alive and said, “But try not to spend it all on fake blood and pus.”

Then they saw Meet the Feebles and said, “You know, maybe lay off the jokes about heroin and sodomy.”

And that's why Lord of the Rings sucks.


 

14. Dungeon Master (1985, USA)

aka “Ragewar”

Directed by: Charles Band and some other clowns
Genre: Fantasy/sci-fi/horror
Bad movie type: Completely ridiculous

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Dungeon Master (movie)Essentially, this is the story of a computer nerd vs. a demonic wizard played by the giant baliff from Night Court. It's unclear why the demon kidnaps the main character's girlfriend and forces him to undergo a series of unrelated challenges in the first place, but I guess “demons hate nerds” is as good a reason as any. And since actual computers in 1985 did almost nothing, fictional computers could do everything. You'll notice that this movie accurately prophesizes both Siri and Google Glass. How about that.

Dungeon Master is what I like to call a writers' bukkake. A bunch of guys stand in a circle around a screenplay, work on it for ten minutes each, finish one by one, then walk away oblivious to what the others are doing. The most notable participant of this script gangbang is Charles Band. If you watch enough shitty horror movies, chances are you've come across the name Charles Band more than once. He's produced and/or directed everything from the Puppetmaster series to the Evil Bong and Gingerdead Man trilogies.

So what was his contribution to Dungeon Master? A fucking W.A.S.P. concert.


 

13. Conquest (1983, Italy/Spain/Mexico)

Directed by: Lucio Fulci
Genre: Fantasy/horror/adventure
Bad movie type: Completely tasteless

Watch trailer (NSFW):

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ConquestIf there was one thing the world couldn't get enough of in the 80's, it was shitty barbarian films. How else can you explain Deathstalker?

But if there was one thing Lucio Fulci couldn't get enough of, it was brutally graphic death and dismemberment. So he proceeded to make the most violent and offensive sword and sandals movie the world had ever seen. It also contains 1000% more snake masturbation than Clash of the Titans and Conan the Barbarian combined.

Conquest is the perfect mix of cheesy silliness, pervasive nudity, and people being slowly torn in half. It's almost like watching serial killers dream up a Dungeons and Dragons game session.

It's like this: Fulci is seriously fucked up. His name is synonymous with exploding heads and severe eye trauma. Nobody has ever attempted to describe his movies by their plots; it's more like, “This is the one where that little girl gets her brains blown out!” (The Beyond aka Seven Doors of Death, 1981):

Or, “This is the one where the zombie and the shark fight each other!” (Zombie, 1979):

And really, what the fuck kind of sadistic maniac dresses up an actor (or possibly just a random homeless guy) as a blood covered zombie and tosses him in the ocean with a live shark? How many dead extras does he go through?


 

12. Hell of the Living Dead (1980, Italy/Spain)

aka “Virus”
aka “Night of the Zombies”
aka “Zombie Creeping Flesh”

Directed by: Bruno Mattei
Genre: Zombie horror
Bad movie type: Completely tasteless

Watch trailer (NSFW):

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Hell of the Living DeadZombie movies are tricky to rate, because no matter how good or bad they are, at the end of the day they're still zombie movies and as such they all tend to be awesomely bad in their own way. I've seen tons of them, but for some reason Hell of the Living Dead has always struck me as the best worst zombie film ever made (not to be confused with the worst worst zombie film ever made: Zombie Nation. But that's a whole different bag of shit that we won't get into right now).

What I love about this movie is how belligerently in-your-face bad it is. Like if you tried to make helpful suggestions to the director he would just dump a bucket of sheep's entrails over your head and fall down in a fit of hysterical laughter. This movie does not give a fuck. Check this shit out:

Bad dubbing, ridiculous dialogue, buckets of blood, lunatic protagonists, and a shitload of unnecessary stock footage. And why does the white lady reporter get naked and paint herself up like a tribal slut to hang out with the natives? I forget, but I do remember it being pointless beyond the sake of tits. So add gratuitous nudity to the list. And did I mention that a kid gets shot in the face? Because a kid gets shot in the face.

Not into zombies? What about Predator? Because the same director also does a fucked up awesome rip-off of Predator crossed with Robocop called Robowar (1988). It's exactly as cool as it sounds:


 

11. The Raiders of Atlantis (1983, Italy/Philippines)

aka “Atlantis Interceptors”
aka “Atlantis Inferno”

Directed by: Ruggero Deodato
Genre: Post-apocalyptic action/adventure
Bad movie type: Completely insane

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The Raiders of AtlantisRuggero Deodato is the director of Cannibal Holocaust (1980), the most banned film ever made. It was a movie so disturbingly graphic that he was actually arrested on charges of obscenity and murder because it was widely thought to be a snuff film. The actors had to show up in court and say, “It's cool, we're not dead.”

Maybe it's partially because of this that Raiders of Atlantis is so completely goddamn unbelievably ridiculous. Nothing about this movie is even remotely realistic. The lost continent of Atlantis rises up out of the ocean one day because of “radioactive leakage” from a sunken Russian nuclear submarine off the coast of Florida. Whatever, just go with it. Atlantis is millions of years old, and in a state of post-apocalyptic ruin. The people of Atlantis dress like extras from The Road Warrior and they all ride motorcycles. The leader rides around in what looks like a souped up '57 Chevy, but don't quote me on the year because their society is millions of years old.

None of that matters. All that matters is that this movie is about two badass mercenaries fighting apocalypse bikers and occasionally trying to get laid with bad pickup lines but mostly shooting people in the face or setting them on fire.


 

10. Memorial Valley Massacre (1989, USA)

aka “Valley of Death”

Directed by: Robert C. Hughes
Genre: Slasher horror
Bad movie type: Completely ridiculous

Watch scene compilation:

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Memorial Valley MassacreThe synopsis of this film describes the killer as an “axe wielding maniac.” A more accurate description would be “mentally retarded caveman that has screaming panic attacks around loud noises.” I'm not sure whether or not this was supposed to be a comedy, but the breakdown is about 80% wacky campground hijinks and 20% retarded caveman horror. I use the term horror loosely.

Best line: “What's the matter, don't you like speed metal?” – Mouthy teenager to a Ron Jeremy look-alike when challenged to turn down the music.

I'm pretty sure most of the people in this film went on to do absolutely nothing else, which is a shame because the fat kid's performance in this movie is honestly one of the funniest things I've ever seen in my life. I don't know if “fatsploitation” is a real genre, but he could have been a superstar in it if it was. Even bigger than Chris Farley.


 

9. Deadly Prey (1987, USA)

Directed by: David A. Prior
Genre: Action
Bad movie type: Completely tasteless

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Deadly Prey (movie)I'm not exactly sure when this movie started to go viral, but damned if the collective internet hasn't fallen in love with the mullet man in Daisy Dukes from this Rambo/Commando style rehash of The Most Dangerous Game.

Some action movies are meant to be taken more or less seriously. Sometimes they succeed without being too over-the-top. And sometimes they're not afraid to take a more tongue-in-cheek approach to some of the dialogue just for fun. But Deadly Prey isn't just serious, it's cocaine and steroids serious. It's what the fuck are you laughing at serious. This movie wants nothing more than to rip off your head and shit down your neck.

There's really nothing else that needs to be said about this movie.


 

8. The Galaxy Invader (1985, USA)

Directed by: Don Dohler
Genre: Sci-fi/horror
Bad movie type: Completely incompetent

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The Galaxy InvaderThe cast of this film is so good at being terrible it's hard to believe the whole movie isn't a spoof of itself acted out by professional comedians. I kept waiting to see the cast of Mr. Show pop up, or to find out that the screenplay was written by the staff of The Onion. But nope, this shit is for real.

The premise of the movie is this: some drunk rednecks capture an alien and decide to sell it so they can get rich and possibly buy new shirts without holes in them. I don't want to spoil anything, but here's the end of the movie. I dare you to keep a straight face through the whole thing. I fucking double dare you:


 

7. The Pod People (1983, Spain)

aka “Extraterrestrial Visitors”
aka “Tales of Trumpy”
aka “The Return of E.T.”

Directed by: Juan Piquer Simón
Genre: Sci-fi/horror/family
Bad movie type: Completely ridiculous

Watch trailer:

Watch full movie » (MST3K version)

The Pod PeopleFirst off, this movie has nothing to do with E.T. You can thank the producers for that one. Apparently this movie was originally about an evil alien monster killing a bunch of people in the woods. But then the producers said, “Hey, you know what this reminds me of? That movie E.T. That was a good movie; it made lots of money. You should make your movie like that. You know, like, put another alien in it. A cute one. And a goofy looking stupid kid. But otherwise don't change a thing.” The end result was something that no one could be proud of, suitable only for being ripped apart by the crew of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

The director of this movie would later go on to make serious horror films like Slugs (1988), which is about a town besieged by mutant flesh eating slugs:

It's exactly as dumb as it sounds.


 

6. Rock ‘n' Roll Nightmare (1987, Canada)

aka “The Edge of Hell”

Directed by: John Fasano
Genre: Horror/glam metal
Bad movie type: Completely ridiculous

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Rock 'n Roll NightmareA hair metal band faces off against the forces of evil in a haunted Canadian farmhouse, Evil Dead style. And this happens:

Whoa, what just happened and who was that androgynous barbarian in his underwear? I'll tell you who that was. That was the writer and star of this film, Jon Mikl Thor. I'd never heard of him either, so I looked him up. This is what Wikipedia had to say:

“Jon Mikl Thor (born in Vancouver, Canada, 1955), is a bodybuilding champion, actor, songwriter, screenwriter, historian, vocalist and musician.”

Historian? What?

Okay, I'm not gonna lie, ten year old me would've listened to this. But wait, it gets worse!

Huh. Well that was… interesting. Let's see what else we can find…

Oh…kay. Let's change the subject.


 

5. Diamond Ninja Force (1988, Hong Kong)

aka “Ghost Ninja”

Directed by: Godfrey Ho
Genre: Action/horror/clusterfuck
Bad movie type: Completely insane

Watch trailer:

Watch movie (part one)

Diamond Ninja ForceIn the late 80's, Godfrey Ho made about a hundred thousand shitty movies that had the word “ninja” somewhere in the title, and most of them starred Richard Harrison, and at least three of them featured Richard Harrison having a completely serious conversation on a Garfield phone.

Godfrey Ho ninjas are unlike other ninjas. They are usually white, often fat, rarely intimidating, and most of them have mustaches. More importantly, they often wear headbands that say “Ninja.”

Best Line: “Listen, there are no ghosts. Only ghost ninjas.”

Godfrey Ho movies are extremely hard to follow for one major reason: each movie he makes is made of multiple movies. It's like this: he buys out bankrupt film companies and re-edits their movies into his own movies, then overdubs the whole thing into one big clusterfuck and pretends like it's okay. The end result is confusing, to say the least. Here, I'll just let this guy explain it:

See also:

Ninja Terminator
Ninja the Protector


 

4. The Impossible Kid (1982, Philippines)

aka “The Impossible Kid of Kung Fu”

Directed by: Eddie Nicart
Genre: Action/comedy
Bad movie type: Completely ridiculous

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The Impossible KidThis movie is a follow-up to the equally absurd midget James Bond spoof For Your Height Only, starring the one and only Weng Weng. Who is Weng Weng, you ask? He's a lover and a fighter. He's a master of hiding behind small objects. He's a champion of hand-to-balls combat.

Weng Weng is like the personification of a really ugly puppy. He has three facial expressions: happy, bored, and confused. This has nothing to do with what anything else going on in the film. This is not his acting style, this is just how he looks all the time. At no point does Weng Weng seem to have any clue what the other actors are saying. Sometimes girls get naked in front of him or kiss him for no apparent reason and he giggles, but most of the time he just stands around waiting for the director to tell him when it's time to jump off a building or kick someone in the nuts. And of course he does all his own stunts. Either that or they use disposable five year olds.

Sadly, Weng Weng passed away just before turning 35. There are different accounts of the cause of death, but my favorite theory is that of a random reviewer on IMDB or Amazon (I forget which), who hypothesized that the actor died after “drinking ten beers.”


 

3. Robo Vampire (1988, Hong Kong)

Directed by: Godfrey Ho
Genre: Action/sci-fi/horror
Bad movie type: Completely insane

Watch scene compilation:

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Robo VampireTwo Godfrey Ho features in the top five? You're goddamn right. Because his movies suck in ways that are light years ahead of other bad directors.

As with any Godfrey Ho feature, the plot of this film is totally indecipherable. A kung fu druglord/wizard is using hopping Chinese vampires to smuggle heroin. The DEA (or whoever) builds a janky ass low rent cyborg to stop him. Other tangents include a love affair between a naked ghost lady and a zombie in a gorilla mask. And that's just the stuff that makes sense.

Also, this happens:

I think it's worth noting that the budget for this film is listed on IMDB as $2.5 million. Let me say that again: two point five MILLION dollars. There is no way in hell Robo Vampire could have legitimately cost that much money to make. There is no way in hell TEN Robo Vampire movies could cost that much. Even if half of the money went to drugs, and those drugs were made of crushed diamonds, Robo Vampire could not have cost that much money. Does Hong Kong not have any sort of IRS type agency? Because I'm calling bullshit on this one.


 

2. The Killing of Satan (1983, Philippines)

aka “Lumban Ka, Satanis”

Directed by: Efron C. Piñon
Genre: Action/adventure/fantasy/horror
Bad movie type: Completely insane

Watch trailer:

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The Killing of SatanI've watched this movie multiple times and I still have no idea what the hell is going on. Some chubby mustached guy named Lando gets shot in the head right after he gets out of prison, but he doesn't die because his uncle is magic. So he travels to his uncle's village on account of a dream involving a styrofoam boulder. When he gets there, he finds out that his uncle died in Lando's place so that Lando could fight the Prince of Magic because… well, just because. Then Satanic thugs attack the village to abduct all the women because… I don't know, for Satan. Now Lando has to kill Satan as the title of the movie suggests.

The weirdest thing about this movie is how religious it is. But it's religious in a crazy people sort of way, like when the missionaries arrived in the Philippines they gave everyone communion wafers coated with LSD and pretended to be wizards. As a result, the Philippine version of Christianity is waaay more badass than it should be, with a heavy emphasis on snake punching, zombies, dwarf wrestling, magic laser fights, and naked sluts that turn into attack dogs without warning. Other than that it's pretty standard bible stuff, Jesus is love and all that jazz.


 

1. The Man Who Saves the World (1982, Turkey)

aka “Turkish Star Wars”

Directed by: some Turkish guy whose name I can't spell without using letters outside of the English alphabet
Genre: Sci-fi/adventure
Bad movie type: Completely insane

Watch trailer:

Watch full movie » (in Turkish with French subtitles)

A long time ago in a country far, far away, some Turkish filmmakers decided to copy the shit out of Star Wars and somehow managed to make the most deranged movie ever conceived.

Turkish Star WarsWow. I can't even begin to… just, fucking wow. I'm not even going to attempt to explain any of that to you. This goes so far beyond the familiar realm of so bad it's good that it transcends all rational thought. Low budget knock-off, or world's greatest reboot? As you can imagine, this film goes into some grey areas of copyright infringement laws. Not only did they steal actual footage from Star Wars, but they copped the soundtrack from Raiders of the Lost Ark while they were at it. And probably a lot of other shit that wasn't theirs.

Don't have the attention span to sit through the whole movie? Here's a montage of exploding kung fu bootleg alien violence set to an Electric Wizard song:

After watching this I am now convinced that the Mos Eisley Cantina is a real bar in Turkey and Luke Skywalker's pansy ass wouldn't last two minutes there. Light sabers? Fuck that, people are getting kicked in half. You want to learn the force? Try punching rocks all day long like a real man. This movie actually makes me ashamed of the American version. It's also worth noting that the star of this movie is also Turkish Rambo and Turkish Mad Max. And he's even got an umlaut in his name, because he's just that fucking metal.


 

Dishonorable Mention:

The Toxic Avenger (1984, USA)

The Toxic Avenger is the patron saint of all awesomely bad movies. If you've never seen it, you shouldn't even be reading this article.

And shut up about Troll 2. That will be covered in the article on awesomely bad movies from the 90's.

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