The best of the worst in film

The best of the worst in film

Story by Abigail O'Gorman, Staff Writer

Any self-respecting film buff must be a scholar of cinematic travesties as well as cinematic triumphs. Indeed, bad movies can be as entertaining as good ones, but, of course, for different reasons. However, it takes a brave soul to shovel through the rank muck of awful-moviedom in the hopes of uncovering a diamond. Luckily, I was brave enough- or dumb enough- to take on this grave task, and, lo, I have emerged triumphant. Some bad movies are so terrible that they loop back around on the scale of mediocrity and become amazing. Some are just terrible. On this list you shall find examples of both varieties. In the course of its compilation, I have borne witness to many crimes against film and I am now filled with dread at the mention of the name Ed Wood (a pox upon him!), who has truly earned the title of world’s worst director, but I have returned from the void with some really MAGNIFICENT “gems.”

Surf Nazis Must Die (1987)
Quote: “I am the Führer of the beach!”

In post-apocalyptic California, gangs of Neo-Nazis roam the beaches, striking nautical-themed terror into the hearts of freedom-loving citizens everywhere. Watching this movie made me feel as if I was being hurled into a frightening and nonsensical vortex of fascism and surf lingo. The film centers on the violence-filled revenge quest of an elderly African American woman whose grandson was murdered by the Surf Nazis, led by Adolf and his friends, Eva and Mengele (what clever references!). If it sounds extremely cheesy and distasteful, that’s because it is. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)
Quote: “Remember, my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.” Thanks, Ed Wood. I can’t imagine how we would get by without your sage advice.

I can say without exaggeration that this is the worst film I have ever seen, hands-down. It is Ed Wood’s magnum opus, and it belongs on a pedestal of terribleness, destined to stand throughout the ages as a monument to Mr. Wood’s cinematic mediocrity. Anyone who can sit through it should receive federal reimbursement for lost time and emotional trauma. I was too busy crying tears of blood to really pay attention to the plot, but I think it has something to do with a space invasion. And zombies? An interesting tidbit about the movie’s production is that one of the lead actors, Bela Lugosi, died during filming, so Wood had him replaced by his wife’s chiropractor, who had no acting experience. Because Lugosi and the chiropractor looked nothing like each other, Lugosi’s character wore a cape over his head for the remainder of the film, without any explanation. The incident is a good indicator of how many cares Wood gave about the quality of this movie (zero).

Caligula (1979)
Quote: “[inarticulate screaming]”

What do you get when you take a big-budget historical epic and add ridiculous amounts of eyeball-shrivelling debauchery and violence? Caligula, that’s what! Based on the life of the infamous titular Roman emperor, this film’s very existence is a jillion flavors of perplexing. The fact that Malcolm McDowell, Peter O’Toole, and Helen Mirren, who are all actual talented and well-known actors, would consent to star in this particular… variety of film (if you catch my drift) is more perplexing still. Poor judgement? Were they trying to appear edgy? Come on guys, you’re better than that. I must add that I was too afraid to actually watch Caligula in its entirety, as I am not a pervert, but I have seen enough of it to have ample grounds to warn my fellow filmgoers- NEVER EVER WATCH THIS MOVIE, EVER. It will burrow into your soul and leave you a quivering shell of a human being. Seriously.

The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires (1974)
Quote: “HI-YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!”
It’s a movie about Dracula and kung fu. I’ll just let that sink in for a moment. This film, starring Peter Cushing as Professor van Helsing, and some Christopher Lee wannabe as Dracula, is what every cheesy horror movie from the seventies wishes it could be. It’s raunchy. It’s low-budget. It’s lazily written. It has no value as a work of  cinematic art. However, it is also absolutely hilarious- unintentionally, of course. It’s basically the perfect B-movie. They should show it in film schools to teach aspiring directors what to never do. If I was put on lifetime house arrest for war crimes and was only allowed to own one movie, it would be this one. Not because it’s good or anything, but because watching it would remind me that no matter heinous my crimes are, there will always be something worse, and that something is called The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires.