The aftermath of an interactive screening of “The Room.” Photo courtesy of Reddit r/theroom.
“The Room” remains the king of all bad/good films. Photo courtesy of DoTheBay.com.
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Imagine starting a movie. The audio is inconsistent. The performances are subpar. The special effects go awry. It looks like it was filmed on an iPhone. Instantly this movie is terrible. However, it is still entertaining. Everything from the acting to the gags is hilarious to watch. Could this movie be so bad that it is actually good?
These types of movies seem to gain followings despite breaking all the rules of filmmaking. Sometimes they are the result of a misguided auteur, and sometimes they are a quick shoot or cash grab for indie studios. Some movies are even intentionally bad for irony’s sake. These movies find audiences because of their shock and rewatchability. Many people love finding bad movies and looking for new aspects to laugh at every time.
For seasoned bad movie watchers or for those who are new to this pastime, here are five movies that are so bad they are actually good:
“Birdemic: Shock and Terror” directed by James Nguyen
Imagine “The Birds” by Alfred Hitchcock, but instead of world class actors and an acclaimed director, it displays near-robotic ones. Instead of creative special effects, it crafts laughable ones. Finally, instead of exploring themes of love and depression, it features a heavy-handed metaphor for climate change. This describes “Birdemic: Shock and Terror” in a nutshell.
Alan Bagh stars as an up-and-comer in Silicon Valley alongside his fashion model girlfriend, played by Whitney Moore. The movie follows the beginning of their relationship when, suddenly, birds start attacking their small coastal town. Some of the “worst” aspects are the audio, special effects, clunky dialogue and lack of chemistry between the main characters. All of this provides plenty of material for audiences to laugh along with.
Jon Gluth, a senior P2 pharmacy student, said he enjoyed laughing at this movie.
“It was so bad that it was almost funny,” Gluth said. “It was hilarious to pick apart every bad thing … It was just completely, authentically someone’s best effort, and that’s what made it so entertaining.”
“Birdemic: Shock and Terror” is available for streaming on YouTube. It also has a sequel, “Birdemic 2: The Resurrection,” available on Amazon Prime Video, as well as a rumored “Birdemic 3” in the making. This movie is perfect for anyone who loves a bad take on a classic film.
“Troll 2” directed by Claudio Fragasso
A young boy is haunted by the ghost of his grandfather who is warning him about something dangerous looming over his family. Despite these warnings, the family finds themselves in the small town of “Nilbog” which also happens to be the kingdom of — as one would expect from the title — goblins!
The lack of trolls in “Troll 2” is not the only ironic part. This movie also includes equally bizarre special effects, script and acting performances. Plot lines get dropped as fast as they’re introduced, and many events go unexplained. These all add up to a movie that is as confusing as it is entertaining.
This is the perfect movie for those who appreciate the stranger side of life. “Troll 2” is available to be streamed on YouTube.
“The Velocipastor” directed by Brendan Steere
A priest who turns into a velociraptor and a “hooker doctor lawyer” love interest – what could make a better movie? When priest-in-training Doug finds a magic velociraptor claw, he suddenly gains the ability to turn into a velociraptor. However, this interferes with his duties as a priest and leads him into trouble with a group of Christian extremists. With the power of his velociraptor claw — and Jesus Christ — Doug gets himself out of a plethora of dangerous situations, including a scuffle with “Frankie Mermaid” and a battle with his ninja younger brother.
From the maximalist editing to the convoluted plot, “The Velocipastor” adds self-awareness to the bad movie niche. Ethan Kroll, a junior dance major, said that he appreciates this self-awareness.
“They really played into it,” Kroll said. “They accepted that they had a low budget and really got creative with what they’re doing. They found their niche with what they ended up making.”
For those who appreciate that self-awareness and creativity, “The Velocipastor” fits that role. It is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
“Llamageddon” directed by Howie Dewin
With a premise as crazy as an alien llama attack and a small budget, “Llamgeddon” has made waves in the bad movie community. After the death of their grandparents, protagonists Floyd and Mel stay the weekend at their old house. Mel takes this opportunity to host a party, but things go awry when an evil alien llama crashes the party. The plot is full of fear, violence and love.
Some of the most notable aspects of this movie are the running jokes. One character is even in a different T-shirt every time he is on camera. The movie is filled with little details like this for audiences to pick apart.
“They really play into the gags,” Kroll said. “[The character changing his shirt] is funny because nobody mentions it. Having a solid sense of comedy helps [the creators] get creative.”
Anyone who enjoys the commitment to the bit will appreciate “Llamageddon.” It is available to be streamed on Amazon Prime Video.
“The Room” directed by Tommy Wiseau
No bad movie list would be complete without “The Room.” This cult classic became infamous for its poor quality, as well as its dedicated fanbase. The plot is a classic tragic romance including betrayal, cheating and violence, but everything from the script to the production design turns the regular premise into a bizarre watch.
Tommy Wiseau wrote, directed and starred in “The Room,” and his footprint looms large over this movie. There are many accounts from the cast and crew about Wiseau’s strange directing decisions. The conversation around “The Room ” and Wiseau himself has launched this movie to fame. Even though it was originally supposed to be a drama, Wiseau pivoted toward marketing it as a dark comedy. His relentless marketing, alongside the movie’s cult following, have helped maintain its relevance for two decades.
“The Room” is still frequently screened in theaters across the world. These screenings include aspects of audience participation associated with some of the film’s more memorable aspects. Lindsey Brooks, a junior business entrepreneurship major, recently attended one of these screenings in Indianapolis.
“The interactive elements are what made it fun,” Brooks said. “I like that we got to throw [spoons] at the screen. It 100% made the experience for me.”
For those who are fans of audience participation or are looking for a classic bad movie, “The Room” is a great choice. It is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
These movies are a reminder that sometimes all a movie needs to do is make people laugh. Each has a cult following, not because of their quality, but because of their absurdity. An article by “The Ringer” said it best:
“There’s just something enjoyable about a movie that’s hopelessly committed to its (very bad) vision.”