I’ve described previously what I think are the five worst films ever made. After I did so, I got tweets and emails asking me things like, “What about ‘The Room’? That’s terrible.” I had to write back saying something along the lines of, “Yes, ‘The Room’ is terrible. But it’s brilliantly, enjoyably terrible. Unlike ‘Revenge of the Sith’ which is just terrible without the enjoyable part.”
Still, I could see what people were after. So here it is: the five best bad films ever. Looking at the list, they may well be the five funniest films I’ve ever seen at the same time, at least in terms of sheer laughs per minute.
5. Troll 2
There is much to get through here, so I won’t spend too much time on this one given how impossible it is to adequately describe. It’s enitled Troll 2 and yet contains no trolls. What is does have lots of is bad acting and I do mean sub-sub-sub-bad high school play bad acting. The screenplay is also horrifically written, and when delivered so ineptly by the cast of the film, makes every line laugh worthy.
4. Creating Rem Lazar
Very obscure late-80s, straight to video kids’ movie about a fantasy superhero character two children dream up called Rem Lazar, who sports spandex and a blue mullet. Oh, and the film is a musical. Neither of the kids can really sing, which just adds to the value. The only downside to Creating Rem Lazar, really, are the slightly creepy overtones throughout, such as when the two kids wake up to find that a). Rem Lazar has come to life (they had created a wooden version of him before falling asleep in a shed) and b). they have found themselves a bit too close to his crotch. This is after a sequence in which the girl character sings for Rem Lazar in slightly hysterical tones while Lazar sings back: “Fantasy….my little one….”
Thing is, Creating Rem Lazar is so ineptly made, I’m convinced that all of the inappropriate overtones are unintentional. At least that what I tell myself so I don’t have to feel guilty while laughing so hard. There is one truly great sequence in the film involving Central Park, a violinist, and the worst hip hop artist of all time.
3. The Room
Difficult to know what to say about this masterpiece that hasn’t already been said, except that everything you’ve heard about The Room is true. It is easily one of the funniest films ever made. The humour is almost entirely down to the dialogue, which is insane beyond description. Tommy Wiseau, the writer/director/producer of the film also portrays the main character, named Johnny. Pretty much everything he says in the film is a non sequitur. Take this brilliant example:
Mark: How was work today?
Johnny: Oh, pretty good. We got a new client and the bank will make a lot of money.
Mark: What client?
Johnny: I cannot tell you; it’s confidential.
Mark: Aw, come on. Why not?
Johnny: No, I can’t. Anyway, how is your sex life?
Or this one, which is possibly my favourite:
Mark: Yeah, man, you’ll never know. People are very strange these days. I used to know a girl; she had a dozen guys. One of them found out about it… beat her up so bad she ended up at a hospital on Guerrero Street.
Johnny: (laughs hysterically)
Nothing whatsoever makes sense in the The Room, nothing. Which makes you think it would run out of steam and get boring somewhere along the way, but it doesn’t, it manages to keep you laughing until the very end. There’s something so watchable about Wiseau, a sort of car crash thing he’s got going on where you just have to keep looking.
2. Plan 9 From Outer Space
Anyone who tells you that Plan 9 From Outer Space is a bad movie has no idea what they’re talking about. Ed Wood’s movie is a masterpiece. Yes, the acting is terrible, the plot makes no sense, the sets visibly wobble – I know all of that. But who cares when every single line in the movie is this funny. The closest analogy I can make to the dialogue in Plan 9 is to compare it all to those bad translations of Chinese menus into English that result in things like “Tasty, Creamy Cock” being offered. It’s like the script was written by an actual alien and then badly translated into human. The interactions between any two people in this movie are so removed from the way actual people relate to one another, it makes every single word hilarious.
Picking any one quote out of a movie like this seems cruel to all of the other worthy candidates. But here goes, the very closing words of the entire film:
“Perhaps on your way home, you will pass someone in the dark, and you will never know it, for they will be from outer space. Many scientists believe that another world is watching us this moment. We once laughed at the horseless carriage, the aeroplane, the telephone, the electric light, vitamins, radio, and even television! And now some of us laugh at outer space. God help us in the future.”
1. Ninja Massacre (aka The Stomp, aka The Secret Message)
I first saw this movie when I was 16 years of age. I wasn’t expecting much when I set out to watch it; just another chop-socky flick, probably a few laughs to be had. What I saw blew my tiny mind.
It begins with utter insanity and yet manages to get steadily more insane as it goes along, until you get to the final, unbelievable twenty minutes which involves a group of female kung-fu experts waving towels above their heads to create a whirlwind; a blind woman managing to kill a small army of men using only an armful of bamboo reeds; the very final sequence, which involves a man with a bullwhip and two children who can replicate themselves.
None of the titles given to it, apart from The Secret Message (and I’ve only ever heard about the film being called this via the internet anyhow – every copy I’ve ever actually seen calls it Ninja Massacre or The Stomp) makes any sense at all. God knows what the “Stomp” might possibly be alluding to, and there are no ninjas whatsoever in the film. “He wanted a killing, they wanted a massacre!” read the tag line on the back of the video cassette I rented as a teenager. Having seen the film over 50 times now, I still could not tell you who the “he” in that strap line is, or who the “they” are either, for that matter. What I can tell you is that the film contains dialogue such as:
Man 1: Step aside, I’m in a hurry.
Man 2: That’s right you’re in a hurry. You’re in a hurry to get to hell.
It also has a newborn baby who is clearly a French baguette wrapped in a towel. A dream sequence involving a monkey. An exploding Alsatian. A pre-pubescent child that ages not a day in ten years. I could be here all day – just see it for yourselves.