Keeping Up With the (Crap) Classics

Updated: Apr 9, 2020

Universal Pictures

As COVID-19 keeps all of us indoors, I've taken advantage of the time by viewing as many films considered to be the worst of all time as humanly possible. Witnessing these cinematic atrocities has been a great way to take my mind off of everything happening in the world, if only for a short period of time. These are the films I've viewed over the past week.

Alone in the Dark (Dir. Uwe Boll, 2005) - Trying to describe the plot of this video game adaptation would be damn near impossible because of how convoluted and poorly-plotted it is, but watching this catastrophe unfold before your eyes is a rare treat. Christian Slater, Tara Reid, and Stephen Dorff give performances from hell, and the visual effects look like those out of a 1990s video game. The mid-movie action sequence set to heavy metal music is an all-timer.

The Blue Lagoon (Dir. Randal Kleiser, 1980) - Beautifully shot by master cinematographer Néstor Almendros (Oscar-nominated for his work on this film), THE BLUE LAGOON is an otherwise bland and boring softcore drama about two teens who fall in love after becoming shipwrecked on an island years before.

Certain Fury (Dir. Stephen Gyllenhaal, 1985) - CERTAIN FURY is horrendous from the minute it starts until the minute it ends. Never skimping on the action movie clichés, this hugely amusing and gratuitously violent piece of schlock is further sunk by the performances by Oscar-winners Tatum O'Neal and Irene Cara.

Exorcist II: The Heretic (Dir. John Boorman, 1977) - Richard Burton, Linda Blair, Louise Fletcher, Max Von Sydow, and many others appear in EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC, but they all get lost in this overcomplicated and dull sequel. While lensed with skill by William A. Fraker, there's just about nothing else positive that can be said about this film.

The Giant Spider Invasion (Dir. Bill Rebane, 1975) - Pointless and amateurish, THE GIANT SPIDER INVASION seemed to promise some gloriously cheesy spider effects, but it failed to even deliver enough of those.

Headin’ For Broadway (Dir. Joseph Brooks, 1980) - The jaw-dropping display of filmmaking ineptitude in Joseph Brooks' HEADIN' FOR BROADWAY makes it quite possibly the worst studio-produced film I've ever laid my eyes on. It's so bad that it must be seen to be believed. Obviously ripping every plot point from A CHORUS LINE and featuring none of that masterwork's poignancy (the stage musical, not the horrific 1985 movie), the existence of this little-seen gem of bad cinema is shocking given that Brooks' previous film, IF EVER I SEE YOU AGAIN (discussed below), was both a big flop and also indescribably wretched.

Hello, Everybody! (Dir. William A. Seiter, 1933) - HELLO, EVERYBODY! is a virtually-unknown and hard-to-find musical starring radio personality Kate Smith that has absolutely no reason to be revived. With a thin story and a star who isn't the world's greatest actress, HELLO, EVERYBODY! is a completely forgettable film.

If Ever I See You Again (Dir. Joseph Brooks, 1978) - IF EVER I SEE YOU AGAIN is, plain and simple, a terrifying vanity project that owes its existence to Joe Brooks' Oscar win a year prior for writing the title song to his film, YOU LIGHT UP MY LIFE. Co-written, directed, produced, scored, and starring Joe Brooks, this "romantic" drama meanders along for a while before conjuring up a hackneyed romance between Brooks and Shelley Hack. Brooks' biggest mistake though is casting himself in the lead, as he is one of the most charisma-free and unlikable screen presences ever to appear on the silver screen.

Jaws: The Revenge (Dir. Joseph Sargent, 1987) - Michael Caine has said the following about JAWS: THE REVENGE: "I have never seen it [the film], but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific!" Featuring piss-poor acting, human-shark ESP, and production values that make porn look like a $200 million studio blockbuster, JAWS: THE REVENGE is the epitome of so-bad-it's-good filmmaking. From start to finish, this preposterous and illogical finale to the JAWS franchise had me giggling.

Manos: The Hands of Fate (Dir. Harold P. Warren, 1966) - Shot for nothing without sound (the terrible dialogue was poorly dubbed in post-production), MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE inspired a smile here or there, but this infamous 70-minute "horror" movie was not worth the time.

Moment by Moment (Dir. Jane Wagner, 1978) - Rarely has a "romance" ever featured as little chemistry between its leads as MOMENT BY MOMENT. Starring Lily Tomlin (writer/director Jane Wagner's wife) and John Travolta, this laughably bad melodrama scrapes far below the bottom of the barrel and sits right alongside the aforementioned HEADIN' FOR BROADWAY as one of the worst films ever released by a major studio.

Pinocchio (Dir. Roberto Benigni, 2002) - While I've heard the American dub is far worse than the original subtitled version, Roberto Benign's follow-up to his Oscar-winner, LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL, is an atrocity. Despite the fact that it is gorgeously-designed, there's nothing else that can be said in PINOCCHIO's favor, as watching a middle-aged actor (Benigni) playing a young boy prancing around in pajamas for nearly two hours is cringe-inducing.

Sheena (Dir. John Guillermin, 1984) - Based on the popular comic book series, SHEENA stars a wooden Tanya Roberts as the "Queen of the Jungle" trying to save her African tribe from a power-hungry tyrant. A flamingo attack and rescue scene is the height of this moldy ball of cheese's hilarity, but Roberts' Razzie-nominated performance also provides an inordinate amount of unintentional humor and can easily be compared to that of Elizabeth Berkeley in the notorious cult classic, SHOWGIRLS.

Shanghai Surprise (Dir. Jim Goddard, 1986) - SHANGHAI SURPRISE tried to capitalize on the well-publicized marriage between Madonna and Sean Penn but forgot to give them a compelling story in which to perform. While occasionally unintentionally comical due to Madonna's line readings, this otherwise idiotic and incoherent action-comedy is a worthless pile of garbage.

Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (Dir. Lee Harry, 1987) - Famous for its viral line, "Garbage day," SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT PART 2 goes far below the bottom of the barrel and reuses a good portion of its footage from its predecessor. That being said, it's more entertaining than 99% of other films out there, largely due to Eric Freeman's insanely over-the-top lead performance and a handful of lines that had me heaving with laughter.

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (Dir. Sidney J. Furie, 1987) - SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE is barely even a movie. With a threadbare plot, obviously cheap visual effects, and logic holes so large that they render the whole film incomprehensible, SUPERMAN IV is so awful that it's shocking that a major studio let anyone make something like this out of one of their most successful properties.

Troll 2 (Dir. Claudio Fragasso, 1990) - A major cult classic, TROLL 2 is astonishingly inept...and all the funnier for it. Having absolutely nothing to do with TROLL (1986) and featuring no trolls throughout its running time, this would-be horror film could be compared to Tommy Wiseau's famous disaster, THE ROOM, for sheer ineptitude and laugh quotient.