Top Ten Most Wonderfully Awful B Science Fiction Movies Of All Times
Over the last ten years, I have taken it upon myself to watch every excruciatingly bad B Sci-Fi or Horror movie ever made…just so you won’t have to. Think of this as a friend who takes a beating for you. These reviews don’t include the year they were made, because a truly bad movie is timeless. Also, they are not numbered because…well just because we didn’t number them.
Frankenstein Versus The World. OK, there is no Prussian laboratory on a hill or lightning or fanatical scientists whose hunchbacked assistants steal corpses for his experiments; nor are there villagers with torches and pitchforks. In fact, there is no Frankenstein in the movie whatsoever. The title of the movie is the only true mystery. What has happened is that all the women on Mars have disappeared except for a few of them and so an invasion force is sent to capture Earth women. So, here’s the strategy: a flying saucer lands in a small town. You heard me right. The flying saucer is from an “advanced” Martian civilization and has a plan for taking over the Earth by landing in some town with like 400 people in it. It has a Queen on board and her power hungry assistant who looks like the director’s assistant/partner/set designer in The Producers, with Spock ears; plus about four other men who carry ray guns. Anyone who resists their attempts to take over the world are either disintegrated or put in a holding cell on the flying saucer next to a monster in a cage they call the Mull - basically a very tall man in a latex monster suit who claws you to death. Oh, just to make certain we hate them, they disintegrate a puppy.
Folks, you don’t hear dialogue this well written every day. In fact, the dialogue from the townspeople is so wooden, I found myself pulling for the Martians. Please kill these people, steal all the women so we can leave the movie and get a pizza.
This could actually be considered one of the greatest comedies of all times and we were all just punked.
Plan 9 From Outer Space. Considered by many to be the worst movie ever made, it would be hard to argue with that notion. It took three years to make, although watching it you think it took about a day and half. This was Bela Lugosi’s last film, ironically about zombies created by extraterrestrials. You see, Bela Lugosi actually died during the filming, so Director Ed Wood himself covers his face with his cape to play out the Lugosi character’s part. He probably had to film himself and operate the camera at the same time.
Here’s the plot. I am not sure why you would call this a plot, but that’s what Ed Wood Jr. called it. Turns out that extraterrestrials who look exactly like terrestrials dressed like Vampirella and an out of work professional wrestler conveniently land in a Los Angeles film back lot to stop humans from making a bomb that will not just destroy the Earth, but the entire universe as well. The bomb is made from a material called Solarbonite; (Not a misspelling) that will make solar molecules explode. Got it? Me neither. This is the strategy: to get the Earthlings attention, they decide to raise people from the dead and create chaos. Let’s review: Humans have a material that will kill everything in the universe. So rather than land at the house of the scientists who created it, or the governments who funded it, extraterrestrials land in an LA back lot, both of them, and create zombies from the dead to stop it.
All I can say is that if aliens are really this stupid, folks, we got nothin’ to worry about.
Some of the sets are comprised of a tree someone borrowed from a front office, sitting on a black blanket, dry ice mist and a production flag held down by gaffer’s duct tape. In one long sequence, a station wagon takes off down a road at night, turns a corner, and hey…what the heck?…it’s daytime… then around the next corner…it’s nighttime again. A must watch.
The Wild Women Of Wongo.OK. This HAS to be a comedy because James L. Wolcott, the director, also directed some Laurel and Hardy comedies. Some of the funniest accidentally created film ever exposed to light.
Let’s get to the plot first. Mother Nature (a woman in a flowy chiffon dress on a rock overlooking the sea) and Father Time have cooked up an experiment. On one island, they create beautiful women, and ugly brutish men. On an adjacent island, they have handsome wonderful men, and ugly brutish women. (You see the ancient gods experimented with humans the way we made explosions with 1960s home chemistry sets. Yes, folks under 50, yes in the age before terrorism, a little boy could go into a drug store and ask for potassium perchlorate, announce that he is going to make a bomb, the cashier would smile, pat him on the head warn him not to make the bomb too big and just be sure to tell Mom first.)
Back to Wongo. Horrible ape men from beyond the sea (which I guess would be land, but then once you see the movie you really don’t want any further explanation) invade the island of the hot men/ugly chicks and they send out our their ugly king’s son to find help. He lands on the island of the hot chicks/ugly men. This happens conveniently the day before the ugly men get to pick their brides. The ugly men notice that the hot chicks are all hot and bothered by the handsome guy, so the ugly men plot to kill him. Do we have to go through the rest of this plot?
Does it really matter?
Suffice it to say that the ugly chicks hook up with the ugly men and well, you can guess the rest.
The cover of the DVD ($4 at half priced books) says, “Prehistoric beauties live by the code of the jungle” though there isn’t a jungle to be found on the island. And by the way there isn’t enough reason for any rational person to ever watch this movie twice…except to use it as an enhanced interrogation tactic.
The best part is that the women are all dressed like Wilma Flintstone.
Cosmos: War of the Planets. As a matter of course, one must realize that the spate of science fiction films that came out of Italy’s low budget studios and were distributed through low budget networks in New York are among the most wonderfully awful B films ever made. That said it is almost impossible to distinguish one incredibly awful Italian 1960s movie from another. So we chose this as a placeholder since all the bad Italian SciFis ever made looked to have been made in the same week.
There are a common series of perks that come with B Italian science fiction. All the wardrobes are fabulous. I mean really well thought out skin-tight body hugging jump suits for everyone…even middle-aged scientists who all smoke pipes even inside their helmets. All the women look like they were runway models. Remember Judy Robinson from Lost In Space? Remember how hot she was? Compared to the 2-D characters in Italian B SciFis she looked like a booger.
All the men were handsome and daring and bold and fully in charge of the women, which was rather short sighted when you consider that they didn’t think as far into the future as the set designers. Sets were pretty much silver with lighted panels flickering on and off and the musical scores are stereotypical electronic music played on Moogs a million and half times.
Most of the over dubbing is so bad it’s like the sound editors and the film editors didn’t get a long and were not talking to each other. Consequently, the words and the lips never match, even when the script is in English, the sound doesn’t sync up.
Italian B Sci-Fi movies painted space with a broad brush. Asteroids were constantly ruining everyone’s day, they made swishing Doppler sounds even in the vacuum of space. Also, forget traversing the vast distances of space where the Milky Way galaxy alone is actually a million light years across. Nope. When you want to go another planet, just aim the ship and fire the rockets and a few minutes later ba-da bing!…you’re there.
OK, the plot.
OK. A team of space explorers land on a planet where inhabitants have been enslaved by a giant space robot. The inhabitants don’t really seem that hard to enslave and probably deserved what they got. But that’s a judgmental thing to say. So the giant cyber monster is basically built like a bulky robot whose user interfaces were designed by the same nimrods who designed the bridge of the space ship that gets them there. Also, it controls everyone by…er…beating them up. So it comes close to the camera, or the camera dollies in really fast and the camera shakes around a bit, and…there’s an astronaut, lying dead, covered with ketchup…aaaaannd…CUT!
Anyway, they stop it from destroying Earth, the hot males pilots hook up with the hot junior grade female officers, the dumb people of the planet are freed, and hopefully when the movie is over, you have to wonder two things. One- how did the Academy miss this movie? And two- is your brain now something resembling Lucky Strike cigarettes and tapioca pudding?
The Angry Red Planet. Could possibly be the single dumbest movie ever made. More thought went into the movie poster. The Director, a guy named Ib Melchior, probably from Doesntexististan, had ten working days and $200,000 to make the film. It pioneered a new technique called Cinemagic where filmed and drawn sets were supersaturated with color to give them both a real feel. (Go ahead, laugh). If you never took acid, but are curious what the world would look like on it, this is your movie.
OK, the plot. Spaceship MR-1 comes back from Mars after two weeks. Which at the apogee of the Mars elliptical orbit would mean that it was traveling at 1.1 million kilometers an hour. Not bad for Earths first space ship. On board are two people, a commander with a horrible growth on his arm, and you guessed it, the hot female lead named “Irish”.
They tell the story and so the movie is basically a flashback.
So here’s the story: an out of shape scientist, a general, a colonel, a chief warrant officer with a new freeze ray gun that he calls ‘baby’. He kisses and pets it. The hot female scientist and the groping mission commander who lunges at her all head into space. While we have the obligatory flattened faces during take off, there seems to be plenty of gravity in space and yes it’s OK to smoke a pipe on the ship. Don’t worry; the scientist dies of a heart attack.
Mars as it turns out is filled with all sorts of unfriendly wildlife. Not to disappoint, so are the human explorers who in typical fashion, kill something the second they step out just to test the gun. This sends erotic chills up the spine of the warrant officer wielding it. In return, Irish is almost eaten by a giant plant, they kill it too; and they also discover an amoeba in a lake the size of Donald Trump’s yacht with an eye on it that goes back and forth like it’s driven by a motor. Then there is a giant bat rat spider like creature that looks like it was assembled by the set designers of Pee Wee’s Playhouse. It has the head of a bat, and the body of a rat, the legs of Johnny Carson, the hooves of a bovine, the joints of a lobster and the hands of a migrant laborer. It screams and chases them down and the only strategy they have is actually an old Sci Fi foil- they shoot it in the eye. By the end of the movie, the inhabitants have sent a message that they don’t want us to come back.
We don’t want to go either. So it all works out.
The Manster. Japanese horror movies are among the most entertaining but few of them move beyond the giant monsters that destroy Tokyo that is then followed by toy tanks and fighter aircraft that amass in the air and in the streets and fire ineffectually at it for hours. Finally, it steps across a superstructure of power lines (not unlike the spaghetti like infrastructure that AT&T and Austin Energy has been so kind as to staple onto flimsy creosoted telephone poles to ruin Austin’s views and save themselves the money of putting underground) and that pretty much kills all giant monsters. And every monster movie aficionado knows that electricity kills all giant monsters during the last three and half minutes of the movie. And let’s face it; half of Japan in the 1960s was made of paper, so an architect with a ream of double-sided semi gloss could rebuild most of it in days. This movie however stands out with greatness because it actually achieves something very unusual in B SciFis: memorable scenes.
Larry is newspaper reporter who has been covering Japan for years, living in Tokyo. He meets Dr. Suzuki who tells him that he has discovered a way to accelerate evolutionary processes. Because he did not have the grace of being publicly schooled in Texas, Larry actually believes in Evolution, and is interested in the discussion. Dr. Suzuki slips him a Mickey Finn and the next thing you know, he is in the Doctor’s lab, which then injects him in the shoulder with his evolutionary concoction. Larry’s wife leaves him and heads back stateside, while Dr. Suzuki uses alcohol and drugs and cheap girls to keep Larry around the lab.
Larry experienced a sore shoulder and one night after his wife has left and he has enjoyed a night of louche activities, he looks in the mirror and sees an eye growing out of the shoulder where he was injected. Larry spirals out of control, hangs out in the streets, kills a few people while the eye grows into another head, something resembling a Yeti.
Yada yada yada, finally his wife comes to reclaim him just as the monster actually splits off of him into a whole Yeti and then grabs one of the bad girls and falls into a volcano. Beside himself, Larry goes back to his wife. For 1962, the special effects were actually kind of cool. For a Japanese Sci Fi, this was a distinct departure and Larry discovering the eye is worth the hour and a half.
Mesa Of Lost Women. This movie is so wonderfully bad that you may not make it through to the end, and even if you do it probably wouldn’t be worth your while. Then again, as advertised, we I watch these movies so you don’t have to.
OK, the best part of this movie I that it stars Jackie Coogan who most of you may remember as Uncle Fester on the comedy series The Addams Family, based on the dark cartoons of Charles Addams. The bad part is that his acting is just as nuanced.
OK, the plot-like plot. Like The Angry Red Planet, this movie is told as a flashback, or rather two flashbacks. A couple, a man who is a millionaire and his hot girfriend/wife, which is never really clarified; but clarifying something in this movie would be akin to fighting over the window seat in the Hindenburg.
Dr. Aranaya works from his secret island lab (really???!!!) injecting men and women with spider hormones. The women become stoic sensual superwomen and men become dwarfish beasts. Still with us? Good. The rich man’s plane crashes onto the Doctor’s evil island lair and one by one his friends get picked off by giant spiders who are so unconvincing that I fell asleep right when the spiders started killing them.
One of the things that make this movie so funny is that I (¼ Scottish, ¼ Russian and ½ Hungarian) actually look and sound more Hispanic than Jackie Coogan could ever seem. Long story short, one of the Dr. Aranaya’s victims comes out of his stupor (he was injected with a serum that made him a dumbass, that said he scored an “A” in Texas High School Science class) and destroys the lab in a fire while the rich guy and his hot gal wander the desert until they are picked up.
The women in this movie are nothing but props, all estrogenned up and ready to rock and roll despite the fact that no one gets laid. Let’s face it; the only Sci-Fi’s that portrayed women with any respect were Alien and the now off the air Battlestar Gallactica — the new one. Some of the music in this movie was used in Plan 9. Tells you a lot right there, extraterrestrials…giant spiders, doesn’t really make any difference.
The rest of the music however is flamenco guitar, and it is fits the way Fiddler On the Roof would fit in a Mosque.
Sadly, this movie was never colorized.
The Brain That Wouldn’t Die. This movie goes down as the most chauvinistic two-dimensional portrayal of women ever. It also takes place in a secret lab (Really???!!!) in a mountain town that also seems to have more than its fair share of seedy exotic dancing clubs. I would say topless dancing but in this town that means dancing with no hat.
Handsome Dr. Cortner works with his conservative father who doesn’t want to take risks with living people, but he manages to take one of his father’s patients who dies on the operating table and revives him. His dad leaves for a conference and his son is free to go on taking huge risks with everyone else’s health and lives. I mean, you know, for scientific research. Dr. Cortner’s good-looking nurse/girlfriend, Jan loves him unwaveringly.
So he is in his sports car with Jan, heading up to his mountain lab and has an accident. Jan quite literally loses her head. Dr. Cortner wraps it up in his suit jacket and runs through the hills into the lab, all accentuated with Dutch camera angles.
The next thing you know, Jan’s head is alive, in a lab pan, or as Mystery Science Theater comics called her, Jan in a Pan. OK. He loves her and wants to get her a new body and how convenient that every night he goes to the exotic dancing club and looks for prospects. Sure enough he finds one girl who is being photographed by slobbering newspaper photographers and he shows up to court her.
Meanwhile back at the lab, the drugs in the plasma solution that keep her alive also give Jan super mental powers and she uses them to communicate with another of Dr. Cortners’ victims who is locked behind a heavy vault door. She finds she can command him to do things for her. Again, pretty cool when you consider that from the neck down, she was nothing to look at.
Cortner’s new hot girl reveals that behind her side bangs, she has horrible scars and considers herself ugly. Dr. Cortner promises her that she won’t have any scarring on her face when he is through with her, which is true considering that he meant to decapitate her and throw away the head. Now, you’d think that Jan is appreciative of this new bod…but no… Jan commands the horror behind the door to kill Cortner’s lab assistant and later, when Cortner enters the lab with the drugged new hot girl, he makes the mistake of standing in front of the door where the monster behind the door is. Under her spell, the monster bursts through the door and kills him, starts a fire, and they all go up in flames.
The horror is a 7-foot tall guy with a latex monster head that has eyes all over it and look strangely similar to the actor James Whitworth from The Hills Have Eyes. A 7-foot tall Jewish circus sideshow names Eddie Carvel plays the monster.
The movie poster says “Alive…without a body…fed by an unspeakable horror from hell!” You bet.
The Disappearance of Flight 412. This will be a short one and deserves its place among the worst because it features a recognized star, Glenn Ford, and basically nothing happens.
Working to repair a faulty radar Col. Moore, Glenn, picks up three UFO blips. Then to jets are scrambled. They mysteriously disappear.
Using stock photography, the first time we see the jets they are F-80 Shooting Stars. The second cut to them they are two P-59 Airacobras. The third time before they disappear they are F-9s. Hey…it’s SCIFI you nerds!!!!!.
So he and his crew get taken to a debriefing center where they are interrogated for 18 hours and indoctrinated to believe that they did not see a UFO. The most action in the movie I when Moore takes the initiative to walk into a hangar housing the plane he was on.
When the credit rolled, I rummaged through the case we bought it in to find the second DVD, but turns out, that was the whole movie.
Blood Freak. Absolutely one of the strangest movies ever made. It was made by a very religious Christian, Brad F. Grinter, who was making a point about illicit drugs. The productions values are so bad, my wife noticed a boom-mike in a scene and she has never been on a set in her life. The movie has an on camera announcer sitting at a desk in front of the fake wood paneling that my cheap uncle used in his rec room. He comes on every 15 minutes or so just to make a poignant point, and I guess to make sure we’re either still awake or following this plot. He talks really slowly, trying to make every word seem much more important than the comment turns out to be. He pauses mid-sentence, lights a cigarette, takes a big puff, and then goes on. What’s worse, the microphone is somewhere in this room and it sound like you’re inside a tin can.
The movie begins with a nice guy/tough guy motorcyclist who helps a stranded young lady by taking her to a farmhouse where she and her friends are all getting high. Things are “happenin and like now, man”….and others want this “cat to get with it,” which turns out to be smoking ganja. He turns it down, but hangs around one woman there who is gorgeous, sexy, wears a short short short miniskirt, but she doesn’t partake either and sprinkles conversation with quotes from the Bible. (A quick check through the Bible revealed that her quotes are not accurate. But then, who watching this movie would ever check through the Bible? Anyway, why is she hanging around these folks and dressed like a hooker?)
OK. Then he finally succumbs and smokes pot, and suddenly he has the head of a chicken. That’s what I said…it’s his body a chicken head. He goes on a murderous rampage and kills people in very very bloody scenes, and drinks their blood because it’s the only way he can satisfy his pot-addled cravings.
If Stanley Kubrick were paid a billion dollars, he could not have made a movie this bad. The point is made, but my God, it could have been made with some panache.