Let's toast the cream of the DVD bargain bins. Not every movie can be the next Primer, and some don't even attempt to be. But for every Oscar-winning science fiction darling, there's the big, beautiful piece of highly watchable garbage.
Here are 13 movies that are so bad — but so entertaining, you can't help but get sucked in every time it airs on cable.
Now it needs to be said, these are movies that aren't trying to be bad. So no, you won't find Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey (though it is awfully great), Innerspace or Attack of the Killer Tomatoes here. The items below are strictly films that were made in total seriousness but turned out ridiculously awful and we LOVE THEM FOR IT.
Chronicles Of Riddick:
"It's been a long time since I smelled beautiful" and this movie reeks. How do you prevent being singed by a super hot sun that can sizzle your body into bacon? Simple, pour some water on Vin Diesel. Holy hell, do we love this movie. It's long, overly complicated, stunningly beautiful and was written by someone who wanted to watch the silver-eyed devil kill a bunch of criminals with a tea cup. The Necromonger world-building was explained with a shrug, but everything these dead aliens kept coming up with was awesome.
Two famous actors screaming at each other for two hours. Nic Cage in a priest's robe running around screaming Hallelujah and grabbing choir ass. A family that says hello by wiping their germy hands across each others faces. If the premise of this ridiculous flick (a cop switches FACES with a criminal, to stop his evil plan) wasn't entertaining enough, it's topped off by Nic Cage and John Travolta circling each other like two cats in heat. It's relentless with the awesomely terrible. And you cannot look away.
Don't even pretend that you haven't tried to do the splits in your underwear on the kitchen counter after watching Jean-Claude Van Damme prance about in his mullet. This is such a bad/awesome movie, it's no wonder that on any given day of the week it's on some TV channel at 3 AM. This is strictly a smash 'em up, everyone-tells-Van-Damme-what-a-badass-he-is movie, and that's all we wanted from it. Notice the seductive come hither look mid split.
You can't look away from the creepy CG. Clear gorillas, clear apes, it's ridiculous. Plus the descent into clear madness that makes Kevin Bacon become a see-thru sleaze ball is just so damn ridiculous. It's one of those movies you view through your fingers, because the science and the reasoning behind all the characters' actions are so bad, you can't let yourself fully embrace it as a whole entity. But then again, freezer magnet.
Planet Of The Apes (Tim Burton's Remake):
Come for the ape verse — complete with monkey ape politics, ape showers and ape mating rituals — and stay for the Charlton Heston cameo.
Resident Evil: Extinction
We could have easily put ALL of the Resident Evil or Paul W.S. Anderson movies on this list. However, this movie has Alice dressed up as desert sex barbie. And that wins as far as watchability, every time. Pair that with the clone-killing scene, and you have a great bad movie.
Blade 2 was awesome, Blade 3.... not so much. However Ryan Reynolds is shirtless for most of it. And the hatred between Reynolds and Wesley Snipes is so palpable, it feels like any minute these two could just start pulling each others hair. So there that, plus Jessica Biel has a laser bow and vampire KILLING PLAYLIST. Oh and Parker Posey, who is great all of the time.
Dear sweet Cookie Christ, the animal cracker scene. This moment should win the oscar of bad acting, bad writing, bad storytelling, but so ridiculously hilarious we all learned the little piano tune by heart. Between the emotional send offs and the space ship shuttle gateway serenades and finally Ben Affleck's mining team jumping a canyon on the asteroid car, this movie is so highly watchable and so ridiculously stupid that you actually become brainwashed into thinking Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor movie was a good idea.
Alien Versus Predator:
Delivers exactly what it promises.
Reign of Fire:
Shirtless Christian Bale and shirtless Matthew McConaughey fight dragons. Because we didn't know dragons were slumbering beneath Earth's crust. Obviously.
Learn important moral values from Dennis Quaid and a pregnant Louis Gossett Jr.
Red Planet And/Or Mission to Mars:
These are both basically the same movie, right? If we could glean the best scenes from both of these flicks, you would have one perfect film.
While we love anything set in the future that is mildly believable (Looper, why not?) on the other end of that scale is Demolition Man where all the poor people live underground and we wipe our asses with seashells! There's nothing more fun than the shit this movie throws at the wall. In the future we have sex with our minds and only eat Taco Bell. Hooray!
UPDATE: Adding this movies because they belong here.
The future is sexy. And hairy. But mostly sexy.
You knew who the bad guy was from the first second you watched this alien invasion movie, but who cares? Copious one liners and lots and lots of awesome alien action. It's a tight little action flick. But seriously, who needs a whole lab to crush pills?
What else deserves to be on this list? Add your own favorite "best worst" flick in the comments.
This io9 flashback originally appeared back in September of 2008.