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Bad Movies I Love--Guilty Pleasures from the Silver Screen

Updated on November 22, 2011

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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    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR

      Rob 

      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Epigram; As always, it's a pleasure to hear from you.

      Thanks for the comments,

      Rob

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 

      6 years ago

      ....well I always appreciate the world class effort and presentation that you put into every one of your hub subjects - although I would have personally included a movie on my love life which believe me is god awful - lol lol - and yes some of these films seem better when you're a kid and you don't know any better - hey wait a minute I am an addled adult and I still don't know any better - lol - but I do know who has the best hubs in town - that ROBWRITE guy - Sir Rob I call him!

      lake erie time 5:29pm

    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR

      Rob 

      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Xenonlit; Don't worry, I won't.

      Rob

    • Xenonlit profile image

      Xenonlit 

      6 years ago

      You have this nailed with "Swamp Thing". That was just nasty. Never give up your love of bad cinema!

    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR

      Rob 

      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Simone; Let me reiterate that I don't recommend these films to anyone! They are terrible! Completely terrible! Consider this a warning label.

      Thanks for reading,

      Rob

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Oh my gosh, these sound like real classics! Haven't seen ANY of 'em. Guess I'll need to deal with that problem!

    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR

      Rob 

      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Cogerson; There's nothing in 'Hercules' worthy of a repeat viewing. I don't know why I like it. There are a few other bad Godzilla films I could have added but I don't want to bash poor Godzilla too much. Maybe I should have added some of the Gamera films I like.

      Good to hear from you,

      Rob

    • Cogerson profile image

      UltimateMovieRankings 

      6 years ago from Virginia

      A nice collection of guilty pleasures...I have seen three of the eight you listed. Swap Thing is a fun movie to watch if you are in a silly mood. I think the same thing about King Kong vs Godzilla. I however did not see much in Hercules for a repeat viewing. I have thought about doing a similar hub...but you beat me to the punch...lol....I would have A Life Less Ordinary and Miracle Mile on my list...I really enjoyed seeing your guilty pleasures...voted up and interesting.

    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR

      Rob 

      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Freddy; I had the same reaction as your dad. I imagined him thinking "Boy, 'Gigi' was a long, long time ago!"

      Rob

    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR

      Rob 

      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Jools; I don't like to admit it to people but I have a soft spot for Godzilla. It sounds silly at my age but I do. I don't know what possessed Louis Jordan to make not one but TWO 'Swamp Thing' films, but I hope he was paid well.

      Thanks for stopping by my hub.

      Rob

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 

      6 years ago from The Garden State

      I will never forget watching "Swamp Thing" on HBO with my Dad when I was about 13 - when he saw "Arcane" he said "Is that Louis Jourdan? What the hell's he doing in this piece of s**t?" Hahahaha

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Rob, We used to go to the cinema on Saturday mornings in the late 60s/early 70s and I think I saw some of these at those picture shows. I used to love all of the Godzilla movies but was too young then to realise they were rubbish,not sure I would watch one now! Louis Jordan must have been short of money to make a sequel to Swamp Thing; I mean he could actually act! Voted up, interesting read.

    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR

      Rob 

      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Oh well, Freddy. It'll give me something to look forward to when you get it back.

      Rob

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 

      6 years ago from The Garden State

      ...and it looks like my KISS Meets the Phantom viewing and subsequent Hub will have to wait. I came home tonight, went looking for it on the shelf, and then remembered that I loaned the tape out to my brother a couple of weeks ago and haven't gotten it back yet. D'OH! I hate when that happens. :(

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 

      6 years ago from The Garden State

      I'm due for a new Hub so I think I shall...(sharpening pencil as we speak)...

    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR

      Rob 

      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      You should do a review on it, Freddy. I'd love to read it.

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 

      6 years ago from The Garden State

      Shamefully, I have owned "KISS Meets the Phantom" on VHS (!) for many years. Every so often I get an urge to torture myself with it again, and I think tonight will be the night. Hmmm, this may be a new Hub in the making... heh heh heh

    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR

      Rob 

      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Freddy; Wow, I haven't seen "Kiss meets the Phantom of the Park" since it first aired. It seems like 100 years ago. What a cheese-fest! I remember there was a comic book adaptation, too.

      Classic campy memories!

      Rob

    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR

      Rob 

      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Thomas; Those no-budget/no-star films are hilarious sometimes. When I was younger, my pals and I used to like to rent them just to heckle the screen. (I think we did it before Mystery Science Theater. We should have gotten a copywrite.)

      Thanks for the comments,

      Rob

    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR

      Rob 

      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Marlin; Let me warn you that "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians" is very, very bad. Stinky, cheesy, awfulness. It could damage you permanently. You have been warned!

      Good to hear from you,

      Rob

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 

      6 years ago from The Garden State

      I'm thinking about busting out one of my bad-movie favorites this evening... "KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park!"

    • profile image

      ThomasRydder 

      6 years ago

      HAH...our big screen afficiando has a weak spot..and it starts with a "B"!! Good deal...well, hey, we all have to put our feet up and watch something that is completely ridiculous once in awhile. We have comcast on-demand and it has a "free movie" section that has enormous amounts of this type of movie. I mean, NO one that anyone ever heard of-and probably shot in a garage somewhere. (Lest you think my barbing of you is pompous, let me add that I've seen 4 of the above listed movies) GREAT hub, and kicked up a point to boot :)TR

    • Marlin 55 profile image

      Marlin 55 

      6 years ago from USA

      I personally like to watch bad movies myself. I think that I have seen some flicks that no one has ever heard of. The one I have to confess to never seeing is Santa Claus conquers the Martians, but I'll add that one to my list.

    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR

      Rob 

      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Steve; If you're in the mood for a campy, crappy film, then 'Santa claus Conquers the Martians' is as bad as it gets.

      I admit that I have a soft spot of Japanese Kaiju Eiga (Giant Monster) films. I grew up with them. 'War of the Gargantuas' was one of my favorites growinging up. That film is not only a campy classic, it also contains the worst song in the history of film, "the Words Get Stuck in my throat".

      I understand why you didn't like the ferrigno 'Hercules' film. It's a terrible film in evey way (despite all the pretty actresses) I don't recommend it. The Steve Reeves 'Hercules' films from Italy in the 50s were cheesy also.

      Thanks for reading

      Rob

    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 

      6 years ago from Manchester, England

      Rob, the only one I haven't seen from your list is the Santa Claus one.

      I've got a weakness for Japanese monster movies and have the four you've listed in the collection, they are pretty bad. War of the Gargantuas is another 'good' one.

      I watched that Lou Ferrigno Hercules once but didn't like it for various reasons. I have a few of the old Italian sword and sandals epics starring Steve Reeves and Gordon Scott.

      Oh I can jot down 100 guilty pleasure movies, cheap and expensive ones. And I've bought many of them on DVD too. :)

    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR

      Rob 

      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Hi Flora; You're not missing much. They're awful. I don't know why I watch them.

      Rob

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 

      6 years ago

      I haven't seen any of these. I know the Christmas movie usually airs every year on Space Channel in Canada. (That's our closest equivalent to your Sci-Fi channel, even though there is plenty of science fact on it.)

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 

      6 years ago from The Garden State

      Hahaha, knowing my kids, they'd be bored stiff by it within 10 minutes and they'd start begging me to put on "SpongeBob" instead.

    • Robwrite profile imageAUTHOR

      Rob 

      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      Freddy; They have to face it sooner or later. Best to get it over with. Tough love.

      Cue the theme song: "S-A-N-T-A C-L-A-U-S, hurray for Santy Claus!"

    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 

      6 years ago from The Garden State

      Now this is my kinda Hub!! I'm looking forward to my annual viewing of "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians" this holiday season. I've considered inviting my kids to watch it with me but I'm fairly sure that exposure to that movie may be considered child abuse in some areas...

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