Bad Movies I Love--Guilty Pleasures from the Silver Screen
They're awful, but I love 'em
It's embarrassing for a self-professed film connoisseur to admit, but some movies I enjoy are absolutely awful. I don't know why I like them because they go against every rule I know of about good film making. They had very little in the way of redeeming values and I would never recommend them to anyone. But I watch them anytime they come on TV none-the-less.
They're terrible. I know it. I have no good excuse for liking them. If you read this list and start thinking "How could anyone like this film? It's terrible!", I agree with you. This isn't a 'greatest films' list. These are my guilty pleasures, where I turn off my critical facilities and just let my mind vegetate for a while.
On with the awfulness...
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians: (1964) Can you think of a sillier premise than this one? Martians capture Santa from the North Pole just before Christmas to entertain unhappy children on Mars. The Martians are a totally goofy lot, but no goofier than the plot. Even though the film is aimed toward kids, it's still a mess. I love the supposed polar bear which is actually a guy in a cheap costume. The Martian robot looks likes it made of cardboard boxes painted grey.
King Kong vs. Godzilla: (1963) I admit I like Godzilla films, even though all the sequels became increasingly silly and this was the film that started the trend toward wacky awfulness. The original Godzilla was a grim, gloomy horror film but later movies were too self-parodying. Godzilla's fight with Kong is actually a lot of fun to watch, if have a high tolerance for ridiculousness. My favorite part is Kong shoving a tree down Godzilla's throat. Kong (One of the worst gorilla suits ever) also gets to wrestle an octopus.
Hercules: (1983) Lou Ferrigno plays the mythological muscle man in this mess of a movie. An evil wizard uses modern machines and robots to attack the son of Zeus. Ferrigno looks the part but is as wooden as a tree, and his voice is dubbed in. I think the reason I like this is the supporting cast of incredibly hot females.
King Kong Escapes: (1967) King Kong gets another campy treatment by those guys at Japan's Toho studios. This time, Kong is captured by a mad scientist called Dr. Hu (Not to be confused with BBC's Dr. Who) to be used as slave labor, and ends up fighting a giant robot duplicate of himself. In traditional Kong fashion, our simian star gets to carry a girl in his hand and to climb a tower. America actor Rex Reason is added in to appeal to American audiences but he is one of the most uninteresting heroes I've ever seen.
Swamp Thing: (1982) This bad adaptation of the popular DC Comic about a man who is turned into a marsh monster is a total hoot. Adrian Barbeau plays buxom secret agent Abigail Cable who gets involved with the Swamp creature as his love interest. They run afoul of evil mastermind Arcade. Louis Jordan camps it up as the dastardly Arcade, and he seems to be enjoying the whole disaster. (He appeared in the equally bad sequel, too.) Arcade gets turned into a swamp monster too, and the pair of marsh beasts battle it out at the finale.
Frankenstein Conquers the World: (1965) Another Japanese giant monster mess. This time, cells from the original Frankenstein monster are grown into a giant green creature who terrorizes the countryside and ends up fighting a giant dinosaur with a horn. (?) This time, American actor Nick Adams is shoehorned into the proceedings as a scientist and, as you might expect, adds nothing of interest to the story.
The Magic Sword: (1962) One of the silliest sword-and-sorcery films you're likely to see, starring Gary Lockwood of 2001: a Space Odyssey as a young knight out to rescue a pretty princess (Anne Helm). Our hero has to get through the 7 curses (Which is not a George Carlin routine) including a creature who looks like a giant teddy bear. Basil Rathbone plays the evil wizard who kidnaps the damsel in distress. He's the best thing about the film. Lockwood and Helm seem like they just stepped out of a 1950s beach party film. The dragon at the end is not exactly a creation worthy of Harryhausen.
Godzilla vs. Megalon: (1976) Probably the worst of the all the Godzilla films (Not counting the pathetic American version with Matthew Broderick). Our iconic giant reptilian hero teams up with friendly giant robot Jet Jaguar to battle menacing Megalon and his beastly partner Gigan, who has a spinning buzz-saw blade in his chest. Odder monsters you'll never find. The film was made to cash in on the increasing popularity of professional wrestling. The greatest moment is Godzilla's flying drop-kick.
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