25 iconic movies that are so bad they’re good

Published 9:00 pm Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Revolution Studios

25 iconic movies that are so bad they’re good

With so many films in production each year—over 940 in 2021, according to the annual Motion Picture Association Theme Report—there are bound to be a few duds mixed in with the award winners and box office hits.

Movies are as varied as the taste of their viewers. Some horror flicks are truly terrifying, others campy. Some comedies generate deep belly laughs, while others leave viewers laughing at the film instead of along with it.

Still, many enjoy the guilty pleasure of watching so-called “bad” films. A 2014 survey revealed that many viewers enjoy the sheer entertainment value and uniqueness of such movies. This love of bad cinema has even inspired The Razzies, a spoof awards show honoring the worst of the worst each year.

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Stacker researched these bad but beloved films and spotlighted a few that live on in horrible movie history. To make the list, the film had to score less than a 4.0 IMDb user rating with at least 5,000 votes or have a Metascore below 35. Keep reading for 25 movies that are so bad they’re actually entertaining, listed from highest to lowest IMDb user rating.

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Actors in a scene from ‘Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan’.

Paramount Pictures

Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

– Director: Rob Hedden
– IMDb user rating: 4.5
– Metascore: 14
– Runtime: 100 minutes

As the eighth of 12 films in the lengthy “Friday the 13th” series—and a film that takes Jason Voorhees away from the familiar setting of Crystal Lake—it’s no surprise “Jason Takes Manhattan” falls short for many viewers. The movie follows Jason (Kane Hodder) as he is resurrected, murders a group of people aboard a ship, and spends a surprisingly short amount of screen time terrorizing the film’s title borough. The hockey-masked killer still draws fans in, though, with some arguing that this film provides the most important character development in the entire series.

Sean Connery and Christopher Lambert in ‘Highlander II: The Quickening’.

Highlander Productions Limited

Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)

– Director: Russell Mulcahy
– IMDb user rating: 4.2
– Metascore: 31
– Runtime: 91 minutes

Acclaimed film critic Roger Ebert proclaimed “Highlander II: The Quickening” “almost awesome in its badness.” This second of six films in the franchise features highlander Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) fighting to save Earth as the ozone layer disappears. Although the plot is illogical and often difficult to follow, big-name stars like Sean Connery, Michael Ironside, and Virginia Madsen make it interesting to watch.

Tor Johnson and Maila Nurmi in ‘Plan 9 from Outer Space’.

Reynolds Pictures

Plan 9 from Outer Space (1957)

– Director: Edward D. Wood Jr.
– IMDb user rating: 3.9
– Metascore: 56
– Runtime: 79 minutes

In “Plan 9 from Outer Space,” aliens descend upon Earth to resurrect the dead and implement their evil plan. This cheaply made blend of science fiction and horror elicits more laughs than fear, with plenty of errors visible on-screen: the shadow of a boom mic, a script on an actor’s lap, and scars that move around on a character’s face.

Eddie Murphy and Rosario Dawson in ‘The Adventures of Pluto Nash’.

Castle Rock Entertainment

The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002)

– Director: Ron Underwood
– IMDb user rating: 3.8
– Metascore: 12
– Runtime: 95 minutes

“The Adventures of Pluto Nash” is a futuristic action-comedy about a lunar nightclub owner named Pluto Nash (Eddie Murphy) who refuses to sell his business to mobsters. The $100 million film didn’t just bomb with critics; it also tanked at the box office with just $7.1 million to show for it. But with Eddie Murphy starring and an ensemble cast including Rosario Dawson, Luis Guzmán, Jay Mohr, Joe Pantoliano, and Randy Quaid, even a bad movie can be good for a laugh.

Lillian Miles, Dave O'Brien, Marin Sais, and Thelma White in ‘Reefer Madness’.

George A. Hirliman Productions

Reefer Madness (1936)

– Director: Louis J. Gasnier
– IMDb user rating: 3.7
– Metascore: 70
– Runtime: 66 minutes

“Reefer Madness,” one of the most well-known propaganda films of all time, was intended to scare viewers about the dangers of marijuana use. The movie reflects the real panic that overtook America in the 1930s, but the campy acting and racist undertones were a recipe for failure. The film resurfaced in the 1970s when it was used to advocate for the legalization of marijuana and was also embraced by the public for its comedic value.

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George Clooney and Chris O'Donnell in a scene from ‘Batman & Robin’.

Warner Bros.

Batman & Robin (1997)

– Director: Joel Schumacher
– IMDb user rating: 3.7
– Metascore: 28
– Runtime: 125 minutes

Despite grossing nearly $240 million worldwide at the box office, “Batman & Robin” received scathing reviews from critics and fans. There’s plenty that is laughable about the film, like the anatomically graphic rubber costumes and the plethora of cringey one-liners. Yet the cast (featuring George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell, and Alicia Silverstone) and the soundtrack (showcasing tunes from Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Jewel, and Smashing Pumpkins) manage to conjure the perfect late ’90s nostalgia that viewers still enjoy today.

Tommy Wiseau in a scene from ‘The Room’.


The Room (2003)

– Director: Tommy Wiseau
– IMDb user rating: 3.6
– Metascore: 9
– Runtime: 99 minutes

“The Room” is a story viewers have seen before: A woman cheats on her fiancé with his best friend, forever changing their relationship. However, a poorly developed plot and unintelligible dialogue—not to mention an overabundance of absurd sex scenes—hindered the execution of this trope. The film spent only two weeks playing in two theaters upon release, but a combination of monthly midnight shows, private screenings, and word-of-mouth from popular celebrities turned it into a cult classic.

Dana Carvey in ‘The Master of Disguise’.

Revolution Studios

The Master of Disguise (2002)

– Director: Perry Andelin Blake
– IMDb user rating: 3.3
– Metascore: 12
– Runtime: 80 minutes

Even comedic icons such as “Saturday Night Live” alum Dana Carvey get it wrong sometimes. In “The Master of Disguise,” Carvey plays an Italian waiter who uses the power of disguise—an outlandish assortment of costumes, makeup, and wigs—to save his parents. The schtick gets old even in a film that lasts only 65 minutes before the outtake-filled credits, but many fans still enjoyed the exaggerated style of slapstick comedy.

Ian Ziering in a scene from ‘Sharknado’.

Southward Films

Sharknado (2013)

– Director: Anthony C. Ferrante
– IMDb user rating: 3.3
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 86 minutes

“Sharknado” is the type of movie that is purposely absurd, which is exactly why it works. 1990s screen stars Ian Ziering and Tara Reid lead the fight to save Los Angeles from thousands of killer sharks lifted out of the ocean by a waterspout. With a little something for everyone—action, comedy, disaster, and science fiction—the entertainment value is high even though the plot, acting, and special effects are lacking.

Madonna and Sean Penn in a scene from ‘Shanghai Surprise’.

HandMade Films

Shanghai Surprise (1986)

– Director: Jim Goddard
– IMDb user rating: 3.2
– Metascore: 16
– Runtime: 97 minutes

“Shanghai Surprise” brings an odd blend of adventure and romance set in late 1930s China. Then-newlyweds Madonna and Sean Penn star as a missionary nurse and the man who helps her find opium to treat her patients’ pain. George Harrison also makes a cameo, is credited as co-executive producer, and wrote music for the film—but his star power isn’t enough to outweigh Madonna’s lackluster performance, which earned her a Razzie Award for Worst Actress.

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Shaquille O'Neal in a scene from ‘Kazaam’.

Touchstone Pictures

Kazaam (1996)

– Director: Paul Michael Glaser
– IMDb user rating: 3.1
– Metascore: 24
– Runtime: 93 minutes

Playing on the old genie-in-a-bottle trope, “Kazaam” stars basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal as a djinn who is accidentally summoned by a boy. Although an athlete transitioning into acting can be dicey, it’s not Shaq’s performance that makes this movie difficult to watch; in fact, he’s one of the bigger draws.

Roger Ebert characterized the film’s downfall as the poor script and lack of originality. His review noted how closely “Kazaam” mirrors Disney’s animated “Aladdin and the King of Thieves,” released later the same year.

Vanilla Ice and Kristin Minter in ‘Cool as Ice’.

Alive Films

Cool as Ice (1991)

– Director: David Kellogg
– IMDb user rating: 2.9
– Metascore: 24
– Runtime: 91 minutes

“Cool As Ice” casts ’90s musician Vanilla Ice in the predictable role of a bad-boy rapper who falls for a small-town girl. Although the film is intended to be serious, the acting—and Ice’s rapping, which of course is incorporated into the storyline—is humorous.

Richard Harrington of The Washington Post summed it up well, calling the film “a cross between an after-school special and MTV video, melding threadbare plot with colorful visuals and delivering a message, which is, basically, Vanilla Ice is cool.”

Glenn Gerner in ‘Troll 2’.


Troll 2 (1990)

– Director: Claudio Fragasso
– IMDb user rating: 2.9
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 95 minutes

In “Troll 2,” a family on vacation learns the town is filled with hungry goblins pretending to be humans. The low budget, unknown cast, and paltry three-week shooting schedule limited the film’s potential. Yet, somehow, the amateurish acting and memorable script ultimately drove the movie to cult classic status.

A scene from ‘The Garbage Pail Kids Movie’.

Atlantic Entertainment Group

The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987)

– Director: Rod Amateau
– IMDb user rating: 2.7
– Metascore: 1
– Runtime: 100 minutes

The Garbage Pail Kids, who literally spawned from the gunk found in a garbage can, began as a spoof on the fresh-faced Cabbage Patch Kids that were popular in the 1980s.

Building on the success of the trading cards that originally introduced the characters, “The Garbage Pail Kids Movie” stars a young Mackenzie Astin in a bizarre coming-of-age tale. The storyline and overall film quality take a back seat to the snot, vomit, and general “gross-out humor” that kids love about these characters.

Dennis Rodman in a scene from ‘Simon Sez’.

Signature Pictures

Simon Sez (1999)

– Director: Kevin Alyn Elders
– IMDb user rating: 2.6
– Metascore: 16
– Runtime: 85 minutes

“Simon Sez”, the second film on the list starring a basketball player, features Dennis Rodman as an Interpol agent who is out to get a dangerous arms dealer. It bombed at the box office, grossing less than $300,000—a paltry sum for a film that cost $10 million. Still, Rodman’s larger-than-life persona, alongside the movie’s blend of action and comedy, provides enough entertainment value for many viewers.

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Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck in ‘Gigli’.

Revolution Studios

Gigli (2003)

– Director: Martin Brest
– IMDb user rating: 2.6
– Metascore: 18
– Runtime: 121 minutes

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez headline “Gigli” as two gangsters who fall for each other while on a mission. Cameos by Al Pacino and Christopher Walken can’t save this awkward romantic comedy, which uses a man with an intellectual disability for cheap laughs. The only saving grace: Without “Gigli,” Bennifer never would have happened.

John Travolta in ‘Battlefield Earth’.

Warner Bros.

Battlefield Earth (2000)

– Director: Roger Christian
– IMDb user rating: 2.5
– Metascore: 9
– Runtime: 118 minutes

John Travolta promoted his film “Battlefield Earth,” based on a novel by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, with bombastic comparisons to the likes of “Pulp Fiction,” “Schindler’s List,” and “Star Wars.” Even so, it was a huge flop; executive producer Andrew Stevens said it “should never have been made.” The storyline of humans fighting to take back their planet from aliens is enough to intrigue some viewers; however, the bizarre cinematography, weak script, and outlandish costumes made this sci-fi flick difficult to watch.

Mariah Carey in ‘Glitter’.

20th Century Fox

Glitter (2001)

– Director: Vondie Curtis-Hall
– IMDb user rating: 2.4
– Metascore: 14
– Runtime: 104 minutes

Mariah Carey may be one of the best pop singers of all time, but that doesn’t mean she can play one in a movie. Critics slammed “Glitter” for being boring, unoriginal, and poorly acted. Despite this, fans still enjoy hearing the diva sing on screen, and others get a good laugh from watching her portray a rising songstress.

Scott 'Carrot Top' Thompson in ‘Chairman of the Board’.

Trimark Pictures

Chairman of the Board (1997)

– Director: Alex Zamm
– IMDb user rating: 2.3
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 95 minutes

Scott Thompson, better known as Carrot Top, headlines as a surfer-turned-executive in “Chairman of the Board.” The film’s overt ’90s nostalgia combined with the comedian’s signature slapstick style may appeal to some, but much of the humor is crude and culturally insensitive.

Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini in ‘From Justin to Kelly’.

Twentieth Century Fox

From Justin to Kelly (2003)

– Director: Robert Iscove
– IMDb user rating: 1.9
– Metascore: 14
– Runtime: 81 minutes

Kelly Clarkson stars alongside Justin Guarini in the musical romance “From Justin to Kelly.” The thin storyline and forced nature of the whole project were enough to make Clarkson beg to be released from her contract before filming even started. Yet “American Idol” fans still enjoyed watching the first season winner and runner-up sing and dance their way to spring break love in this flick.

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Mary Torres in ‘The Beast of Yucca Flats’.

Cardoza-Francis Productions

The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961)

– Director: Coleman Francis
– IMDb user rating: 1.8
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 54 minutes

In “The Beast of Yucca Flats,” a scientist (Tor Johnson) undergoes a Hulk-like transformation after being exposed to radioactive material. The stiff narration, minimal dialogue, bad acting, and poor production value make this film underwhelming. The end result: A brief but entertaining blend of horror and science fiction that draws laughter instead of fear.

Adam Sandler in ‘Going Overboard’.

Theater Technologies

Going Overboard (1989)

– Director: Valerie Breiman
– IMDb user rating: 1.8
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 99 minutes

“Going Overboard” features a young Adam Sandler in the predictable role of a struggling comedian who unexpectedly gets his big break on a cruise ship. The plot is flimsy, but it’s a movie worth watching just to see the comedy icon’s film debut.

Lorri Perry in ‘Monster a Go-Go’.

B.I. and L. Releasing

Monster a Go-Go (1965)

– Directors: Bill Rebane, Herschell Gordon Lewis
– IMDb user rating: 1.7
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 68 minutes

Despite being described as incoherent—perhaps because one filmmaker (Bill Rebane) began the project and another (Herschell Gordon Lewis) completed it—the B-movie styling of “Monster a Go-Go” is sure to entertain. The sci-fi spectacle aims to unravel the potential link between a space capsule that crashed to Earth, a missing astronaut, and a 10-foot-tall radioactive monster.

John Reynolds in ‘Manos: The Hands of Fate’.


Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966)

– Director: Harold P. Warren
– IMDb user rating: 1.6
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 70 minutes

In “Manos: The Hands of Fate,” a traveling family accidentally happens upon what the movie poster calls “a cult of weird, horrible people who gather beautiful women only to deface them with a burning hand!” The premise sounds catchy enough, but a long list of poor cinematic decisions led to a less-than-stellar finished product.

The dialogue is entirely dubbed, filming often deviated from the script, and the entire movie was edited in just a few hours. Many still find entertainment value in this horror flick, though, partly due to its roasting on the popular comedy series “Mystery Science Theater 3000.”

An animated still from ‘Titanic: The Legend Goes On’.

Titanic Cartoons

Titanic: The Legend Goes On… (2000)

– Director: Camillo Teti
– IMDb user rating: 1.5
– Metascore: data not available
– Runtime: 90 minutes

Perhaps attempting to capitalize on the success of James Cameron’s epic film released three years earlier, “Titanic: The Legend Goes On…” is an animated musical following a couple who falls in love during their ill-fated journey across the Atlantic. There’s no logical reason why the tale of this ocean liner should be marketed toward children, much less with talking animals and a rapping dog, but this level of absurdity is sure to make viewers laugh aloud.

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