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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Believe it or not, science fiction tales are hard to get right. Sure, any story is difficult, but when you add a layer of non-reality to the mix, it has the potential to alienate the audience more than a grounded story could. Add in the fact that lots of science fiction fans can’t tell the difference between good ideas and worlds and good stories. Very often one is nixed in favor of the other, and the result tends to be embarrassing.

RELATED: 5 Reboots, Remakes, Or Sequels That Are Better Than They Had Any Right To Be

Sadly, not all science fiction movies could be deeply moving or beloved as Blade Runner, Arrival, Interstellar, or The Matrix. However, that’s not to say they’re not worth your time. Sometimes movies can be so bad that they reach a whole new level of enjoyment.

Today, we figured we’d celebrate the release of Blade Runner 2049 with 5 hilariously awful sci-fi movies you need to see.

Plan 9 From Outer Space

This one is the granddaddy of all bad sci-fi movies. Written, produced, directed, and edited by the infamous Edward Wood Jr., this stands as a testament of terrible films. Where to begin? Plan 9 From Outer Space tells the story of extraterrestrials who come to Earth in hopes of convincing them from creating a powerful doomsday weapon. When negotiations fail, they resort to “Plan 9,” which entails resurrecting the dead.

Despite the silly plot, the film still managed to take itself way too seriously. Plus, even setting that aside, its production quality was awful. Sets were flimsy, lighting was terrible, the acting just as bad, and the way it was cut together was nonsensical. There was a jarring juxtaposition between Wood’s footage and stock footage, and most distractingly, it contained random footage at the beginning of actor Bela Lugosi, who died prior to the film even getting shot.

Rather than scrap the Lugosi footage, Wood decided to used it, and decided to have the character live on with another actor who spends the rest of the film covering his face with his cape. He almost tricked us.

They Saved Hitler’s Brain

Honestly, the story behind this one is more interesting than watching the film itself. The movie takes place after World War II (obviously), and follows the interesting idea of “what would happen if the Nazis saved Adolf Hitler’s head and tried to bring back the Third Reich decades later?” That old story. The film was originally produced as Madmen of Mandoras (Mandoras being the fictional South American country where they decided to take Hitler’s head), and it was only when the film was adapted for TV five years later that it found its new name.

Even more interestingly, the distributor wanted to make the movie longer, and in order to do so on the cheap, they hired a bunch of UCLA students to shoot it. Somehow, the footage the students shot looks like it was shot on video — long before video was even a thing. They don’t even try to match the style the original, and it only adds to the oddity of the whole thing when you cut from shots of the reshoots to shots of the real film.

Birdemic: Shock and Terror

Now time to get a bit more modern. Have you ever watched The Birds and said to yourself, “I want to see this remade in the present day, and I want it to be unbearably awful?” If so, this is exactly what the doctor ordered. The film plays as half like an stupid romance, and half like a haphazard cautionary tale of global warming.

In addition to the wooden acting and hilarious script, b features some of the worst visual effects this side of Reboot. It would be one thing if they were taking a Jaws-like approach to the birds here, but director James Nguyen allows the camera to linger for awkwardly long periods of time, allowing for viewers to see full well that these birds are super fake.

The film got a sequel, but it never reached the same mammoth success of the original.

If you’re interested to hear more about the film’s production, Vice did a great documentary on it last year that you can check out below:


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#2-#1, Plus Honorable Mention

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  • Aline

    So bad, it’s good. Birdemic was indeed a life experience.

  • randomironicname

    Off the top of my head I remember “Leonard Pt. 6” or “Pluto Nash” being pretty terrible and probably worse than anything that Shyamalan did.

    • J’Accuse

      Oddly enough Randy Quaid is great as the robot.

  • J’Accuse

    The incredible two headed transplant is a classic. Cringe worthy plot and lines but fun.

  • Behemothrex

    You need to watch the Rifftrax versions of Birdemic and The Happening to get the full experience, also it will probably save your from throwing a brick through your TV. Plus there are 2 or 3 other movies the Birdemic guy made seeing those is also a good time.

  • Ben Alexander

    the worst movie I ever saw has to be Timeline, had somewhat of a cast and it was directed by Richard Donner so i would imagine it had a fairly sizeable budget, so not like it was a straight to Syfy channel movie.

    just bad all round, you have to watch it if you haven’t already

  • Kronx

    Treasure of the Four Crowns (1983)

  • TheOct8pus

    Aw man….Birdemic and Transmorphers are unwatchable….maybe you can watch like 15 minutes before the boredom outweighs the novelty…

    Zoombies fits into that category too….so bad it’s just bad

  • TheFifthIrrelevant

    How can Battlefield Earth not be on this list?

    • Joseph Jammer Medina

      It definitely would have been in a top 10

  • Raoul Duke

    “Despite the silly plot, but the film still managed to take itself way too seriously” -Harry Knowles, is that you?

    • Kindofabigdeal

      Nah, he’s too busy diddling the help.

      • Raoul Duke

        He’s diddling Herc?

  • Kindofabigdeal

    I’m with you on agreeing that The Happening was fun in the theaters. I went in thinking I was getting a good Shamalamadingdong scare twist, instead I got an unintentional comedy that made me laugh throughout. I never understood the hate for this movie. It had moments of creepiness (the people hanging), combined with dark humor. I loved it when the annoying kid gets shot in the head.

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer’s always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he’s always been something of a story junkie.