Ah, bad movies. Without them, I would have never assumed the role as a connoisseur of crap. There’s something about watching a filmmaker fail miserably that gives me an intense feeling of schadenfreude. How did their movie – their “art” – slip out of their hands and become something unrecognizable, and why am I so happy about it? Did Ed Wood know “Plan 9 from Outer Space” was going to be considered one of the worst movies ever made? I don’t believe so, but he must have known something was up when Tor Johnson struggled to climb out of a grave on a set piece that could have been the backdrop for an episode of the Munsters. Nevertheless, I subject myself, my friends and my family to as many bad movies as I can every year, because I believe there is a lesson to be learned for aspiring writers. That is: how not to write a story. With that in mind, here are my top three picks for worst movies I’ve seen recently.
1. “Bad Taste”
“Bad Taste” (1987) is Lord of the Rings’ director Peter Jackson’s first feature film and features gruesome visuals and a talented director’s burgeoning eye for cinematography. Yet, it also features dialogue that is difficult to understand because it is New Zealand English, and so low in the audio mix, I’m unsure where the accent starts and the sentence ends. Also, the plot is so intrinsically bizarre that it fails to captivate and maintain one’s attention (aliens come to cannibalize humans for an intergalactic fast food chain, sort of?) and there’s a character who has a hole in his head who graphically stuffs random brain matter back into his skull … for some reason.
If you want to see Sean Connery in a giant red diaper traipse around a fantasy world with a revolver and a license to kill given to him by an omnipotent being who vomits rifles, please watch “Zardoz” (1974). It features Nietzschean themes, some cool faction names (the Apathetics, the Brutals, and Sean Connery’s Mustache), and a scene in which people who are begging for death get ruthlessly shot by red-diaper-wearing sociopaths. I am still unsure if this is the most profound film I’ve ever seen or the worst thing that’s happened to me in a decade – and I paid money to watch both “Terminator 3” and “Terminator: Genisys” in theatre.
3. “Road to Revenge”
“Road to Revenge” (1993) was written, produced and directed by John De Hart. He also wrote the hauntingly awful score. His bio states that he was a lawyer, songwriter, martial artist, actor, writer, director and producer. But “Road to Revenge” shows that he was demonstrably good at none of those things. As far as the movie goes, it features a poorly delivered Shakespearean monologue, a cop/judge/Satan-worshiper, horrifyingly long sex scenes, and a 70-year-old hero who wears muscle shirts and recites his lines with the enthusiasm of an apathetic toad. This movie is like being stung in the face by bees. One-hundred bees. Right in the face.