There are a lot of nice movie lists to be found on the net. So why another one? I could say it's because any "essential" viewing list should try to cover all the major genres, or at least cover those movies that were most influential in the genre and most often cloned, not merely one persons personal likes or dislikes. That my list does that by being more than merely a "worst of the worst" list by looking for movies with spirit that have become unintentional meditations on awful cinema. Yeah, sure, what a bunch of pretentious twaddle! The truth is the lists got me to thinking which of the movies I've seen (can't recommend moves you've never seen) would make my list if I put one together. So, without further adieu, the 13 "bad" movies I would recommend as essential viewing include. . .
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1.STAR CRYSTAL - This movie is a confused mess that attempts to graft an sappy E.T. ending onto the bloated corpse of an knock-off of an ALIEN clone. That's right this movie attempts to emulate the formulae of other ALIEN clones and bungles the job! The dialogue is insufferable and the acting leaden. A must see for all film critics and wouldbe filmmakers, if only so you can recognize a truly bad movie when you see it! Pair with any of the following for a fun filled night of double feature madness: CREATURE, GALAXY OF TERROR, FORBIDDEN WORLD, or INSEMINOID. (see the Alien Clones category in Ye Olde Cosmic Cinema Shop for purchasing information.)
2.HYBRID - Seeking refuge from an ion-storm a group of post-apocalypse survivors stumble upon an abandoned research facility and take refuge within. However after a shower and some food the group discovers the shelter isn't quite as abandoned as it first appeared. This post-apocalyptic thriller from director Fred Olen Ray, while less of a mess than STAR CRYSTAL, is just as confused. A virtual scene-for-scene remake of CREEPOZOIDS, only done with a more style and a flair for the absurd. Pair with any of the following for an atomic blast of mind-numbing double feature fun: RATS - NIGHT OF TERROR, CREEPOZOIDS, THE TERROR WITHIN, RESIDENT EVIL - EXTINCTION.
3. SPACE THING - The 50s and 60s produced some of the more unusual alien invasion films yet, compared to THE DOOMSDAY MACHINE or QUEEN OF OUTER SPACE, SPACE THING is a freak show. You wont believe your eyes as unpainted Testor models of the Enterprise and an U.F.O. from that 60s era TV show you almost remember appear on your screen. You'll laugh at the opening voice over narration. You'll marvel at the Ed Woodian production levels. You'll cringe in disbelief as the actresses disrobe leaving you wondering why Kester didn't warn you this movie had nudity as your family and friends pummel you with popcorn! Pair with NUDE ON THE MOON, PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, VOYAGE TO THE PLANET OF PREHISTORIC WOMEN, or WHAM BAM THANK YOU SPACE MAN and feel your brain turn to mush inside your head.
4.BURIAL OF THE RATS - Starring Adrienne Barbeau in a role you have to see to believe this light on plot schlock fest, set in 19th Century France, comes with a healthy dose of scantily clad females. As the movie opens a young and impressionable Bram Stoker runs afoul of a murderous subterranean cult of rat worshipping highwaywomen. Before you know it he's a captive of their queen and forced to write for her. Pair with movies like TOBE HOOPER'S NIGHT TERRORS or FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA'S DRACULA.
5.CONQUEST - You've never seen a fantasy movie like this! CONQUEST IS Lucio Fulci's slipstream dark fantasy sword-and-sorcery epic about a nunchuck wielding hero with the moral sensibilities of Deathstalker and the gruff live and let die barbarian attitude of Howard's Conan wandering aimlessly through a world that exists in a parallel prehistoric dimension where shambling swamp zombies lurk in the muck waiting to attack unwary passersby and cannibal dog-headed humanoids roam the land terrorizing tribes of mud covered cavemen; and there's even gore. Pair with any of the DEATHSTALKER movies, HUNDRA, SORCERESS (1982), or BARBARIAN QUEEN.
6.FRANKENSTEIN'S CASTLE OF FREAKS - Here is a fantastically absurd Italian produced mad-scientist exploitation opus that has a carnivorous Neanderthal, a demented dwarf, a mad scientist, antique bathtubs, peeping toms, late night lover rendezvous, suits of armor, girls frolicking in caverns with hot springs, and, of course, Frankenstein's monster. About the only thing missing is coherence. A tad sleazy but otherwise tolerable. Pair with LADY FRANKENSTEIN, COUNT DRACULA'S GREAT LOVE, COUNTESS DRACULA, or FRANKENSTEIN VS. THE CREATURE FROM BLOOD COVE for a sleazy good time.
7.HELLRAISER: BLOODLINE - An often maligned sequel that manages to be a thought provoking epic that crosses the boundaries of past, present, and future to create a self contained story that encapsulates the history of the box (this is not a movie about Pinhead) from it's creation to it's destruction. While the Cenobites may be relegated to the background they remain central to this otherwise self contained story. Not recommended for those seeking mindless gore or violence. Pair with LEPRECHAUN 4: IN SPACE, PROJECT SHADOWCHASER 3000, EVENT HORIZON, or JASON X for a interesting bad movie experience.
8.ZOMBIE LAKE - Here's another often maligned movie, and unjustly so, for despite what some would have you believe this is NOT the worse zombie movie ever made. Rather it's a strange tale of World War II Nazi soldiers turned vicious lust crazed aqua-Nazi zombies hungering for the nubile young flesh of skinny dippers. Pair with OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES, SHOCKWAVES, or any of the Ilsa movies for a truly jaw dropping cinema experience.
9.THE INVISIBLE MANIAC - H.G. Wells' INVISIBLE MAN is a timeless classic that has been adapted for the stage, made into movies, used as the basis for numerous television series, and even served as the muse for Milo Manarra's BUTTERSCOTCH comicbook series. Thus it would be remise of any essential movies list not to include an invisible man themed movie. THE INVISIBLE MANIAC is seriously off the wall. The acting is bad, there's lots of lame jokes, guys spying on girls as they shower, and of course the titular maniac running amuck and terrorizing the kids. Pair with SLAVE GIRLS FROM BEYOND INFINITY, PRIVATE LESSONS, PARADISE, or PRIVATE SCHOOL for an night of absurd bad movie fun. If you're feeling daring, or just a bit randy, you might even consider making this a hot double feature night with THE EROTIC MISADVENTURES OF THE INVISIBLE MAN.
10.THE VAMPIRE HAPPENING - There's actually more bad vampire movies than good one's so this was not an easy choice. In the end I settled for this because it's a comedy-spoof in the vein of FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS, only not nearly as good. A product of psychadelic seventies this flick is witch's cauldron bubbling over with strangeness. You just have to experience it for yourself. Pair with FANGS OF THE LIVING DEAD, FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS, or BORDELLO OF BLOOD.
11.YOUNG DOCTOR'S IN LOVE - Here's another spoof-comedy, this time of medical dramas, and it's pretty hit or miss. Either it'll hit your funny bone, thus causing you a great deal of hurt, or it wont. What makes this noteworthy is the cast. A lot of the actors in this went on to greater fame and infamy. A clichéd mash up best paired with a dry aperitif like DRACULA DEAD AND LOVING IT, AMAZON WOMEN ON THE MOON, or, for the less refined palate, perhaps a more recent vintage such as MEET THE SPARTANS or NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE.
12.TRANSYLVANIA 6-5000 - When is a horror movie not a horror movie? When it is a farce. And you can take that however you want. I remember this being a lot funnier when I originally saw it, a thousand years ago in my youth, which sums up the movie in a nutshell. A movie made by and for juvenile minds that possesses a banal immaturity that older audiences may not fully appreciate. Worth seeing only for the cast, which includes Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, and Ed Begley Jr. Watch with BEETLEJUICE or YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN to avoid brain rot.
13.WAR GODDESS - While neither a spoof or straight comedy this sword-and-sandal Amazon exploitation epic has moments of hilarity that make it a must see. Here's a movie that had a budget, a effective director, and a goodly assortment of veteran European actors yet somehow manages to be one of the more unusual entries in the medium budget sword-and-sandal genre. WAR GODDESS is a historical epic, about Amazons, that also happens to be a classic exploitation flick. For a entertaining themed bad movie night pair with BATTLE OF THE AMAZONS, AMAZONS (1986), THOR AND THE AMAZON WOMEN, or THE ARENA.
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Copyright © C. Demetrius Morgan