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30 Worst Films of the '80s

Caddyshack II

The original Caddyshack was one of the best films of the 80s, so why tarnish it with a sequel? Hopefully, Hollywood execs learned their lesson from this mistake. Audiences and critics hated Caddyshack II.  Some hated it because it couldn’t live up to the hilarious scenes of the first, while others just felt like it was plain stupid.

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Extra Terrestrial Visitors

Can’t Spielberg’s E.T. just be left alone? Of course not! Extra Terrestrial Visitors had to bank on its popularity. The problem with this film is that the alien isn’t as kind as the one in the box office hit. Plus, the alien doesn’t really look “extraterrestrial.” It looks more like something from Horton Hears a Who!, and the young boy, in fact, hatches the alien from an egg that he finds at the beginning of the film.

This wasn’t Juan Piquer Simón’s first foray into B-movie horror, however. He may be more well-known for his gory cult classic Pieces from 1982. Another of his films, The Pod People, was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000, as was Extra Terrestrial Visitors at one point. To say he was a favorite of the film riffers would be an understatement.

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Heaven’s Gate

Heaven’s Gate cost $44 million, but not because it had such great special effects. The director was a perfectionist, so he required reshoot after reshoot. Talk about a huge waste of money. Then, when it finally reached theaters, it was four hours long. Naturally, it was called “an unqualified disaster” and “the most scandalous cinematic waste I’ve [Roger Ebert] ever seen.” It also won a 1980s Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director.

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Xanadu

Xanadu isn’t the lowest-rated movie from the 80s, but it’s still pretty darn bad. Critics either loved it or hated it, but most decided it was too campy for their taste. Most viewers also hated the Art Deco themes and strange acting. It wasn’t that it was bad…it was just strange.

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The Garbage Pail Kids Movie

Have you ever seen a 0% Rotten Tomatoes score? Neither have I until The Garbage Pail Kids Movie. Every critic that reviewed the movie absolutely hated it. It was disgusting, ridiculous, and had comedy that wouldn’t tickle anyone’s funny bone. It was never intended to be a child’s movie, but that didn’t stop parents from launching a nationwide protest.

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The Apple

You know your movie is bad when the audience throws their promotional copies of the soundtrack at the screen during the premiere. Who knew a disco rock opera set in the future wouldn’t do well? It was called “the worst movie ever made, period.” It was so horrible that some editions of the film now feature satirical commentary done by the former stars of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

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Inchon

Inchon was a war movie that was plagued with so many problems that you would think it was cursed. From natural disasters to the director quitting before the start of production, Inchon cost over $46 million. To make things worse, it was a horrible film. It was panned as the worst film ever made by The Washington Post, Newsweek, and TV Guide. It also won a couple of Razzies for Worst Picture and Worst Screenplay.

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Tarzan, The Ape Man

Tarzan, The Ape Man was a box office success, but critics completely bashed it. Along with bad acting, it also had a horrible screenplay. One critic even went as far to say that it was a “cinematic atrocity.” Naturally, it was nominated for six awards at the Golden Raspberry Awards, and it walked away with one win for Worst Actress.

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Mommie Dearest

Few films have won as many Razzies as Mommie Dearest. This film walked away with nine nominations and five wins, including Worst Picture and Worst Actress. Even though it was meant to be taken seriously, audiences found themselves laughing with the over-the-top acting and makeup.

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The Man Who Saved the World

What if Star Wars was Turkish? The Man Who Saved the World is the answer to that question. It’s notorious for illegally using footage from well-known sci-fi films and shows including Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark. That’s a bold move, but it did not pay off for them. To make things worse, the plot was in shambles, the dialogue was horrible, and the special effects were shameful.

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Howard the Duck

Howard the Duck was critically slammed for a number of reasons. First, they shot it in live action, unintentionally making Howard look terrifying. The decision also made it challenging to convey emotion, since Howard was largely expressionless and his mouth functioned poorly. The character was also too racy for the big screen. The blue humor didn’t land, and the film became the lowest-ranked film produced by Lucasfilms.

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Ishtar

How could a movie with Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman fail? The issues started with an insane budget that increased to $55 million after several reshoots. Next, the script had lumbering comedy with dull lines. Finally, the audience couldn't figure out if it was intentionally horrible. It won two Razzies and was ranked as one of the worst films by Time Magazine.

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Nukie

Nukie was heavily inspired by E.T., which was a hit of the 80s, but came off as a cheap knock-off. It left critics confused and became almost universally hated by those who saw it. It is frequently called the worst kid’s movie and the worst sci-fi movies ever made.

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Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

Remember the Superman movie where he turned back time by spinning the globe the opposite way? Somehow, Superman IV was even worse than that. The acting was horrible, the special effects were absolutely offensive, and the movie overall lacked the detail found in the comic book.

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Leonard Part 6

Leonard Part 6 was so bad that the director himself disowned it, even before it reached theaters. Bill Cosby, the director, advised that people not see it. Well, critics did, and they tore it apart. One said, “The only good thing about Bill Cosby’s Leonard Part 6 is that we didn’t have to see Parts 1 through 5.” Ouch.

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Hobgoblins

Gremlins was a pretty good movie, so why not capitalize on that success? This bad idea spawned Hobgoblins. In 1998, it was featured in Mystery Science Theater 3000, but even the writer of the show had a hard time making it through the film. The plot was called “moronic” and the acting “dreadful.”

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Mac and Me

Mac and Me is another E.T. rip-off—and it’s another movie with a 0% Rotten Tomatoes score. Critics complained that the movie was more like a TV commercial than a film, thanks to the heavy marketing throughout the film. The only good thing that came from this film is Paul Rudd showing a clip of it to Conan every time he’s promoting one of his movies.

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Things

Low-budget horror movies rarely go well, but Things should be in a category of its own. It cost just $35,000 to make and marked the debut of porn star Amber Lynn. Well, it’s no surprise that it was one of the worst horror films ever made, which honestly says a lot considering all the crap the genre puts out.

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Going Overboard

Going Overboard was Adam Sandler’s first film so we can forgive him for that, but it wasn’t the director's first film. Nothing in the movie makes sense, and the plot is all over the place, making it difficult for the audience to follow. It’s honestly impossible to find anyone who enjoys this flick.

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Boogeyman II

Was this movie supposed to be scary? We don’t think so. One of the most significant issues is that there are about 40 minutes of flashback footage from the first movie. Great if you didn’t see it, but we don’t need a recap. The writers weren’t credited, and we sort of understand why considering how bad it turned out.

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Teen Wolf Too

The first Teen Wolf wasn’t too bad, and fans actually liked it. In response, a sequel was slapped together—and I do mean slapped together. The script was weak, and the dialogue felt clunky at best. To make things worse, Michael J. Fox decided not to return, which ended up being a wise decision on his part. 

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Space Mutiny

Space Mutiny was so horrible that it made one of the best episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Most audiences absolutely hated the film, while the others loved it because it was so horrible.  The script is so sloppy that it’s almost like they didn’t have one, to begin with. To add to the issues, the actors were beyond subpar.

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Zombie Nightmare

Adam West couldn’t even turn Zombie Nightmare into a good movie. In fact, this movie is so horrible, that it’s the third lowest-rated film on IMDb. It was spoofed on Mystery Science Theater 3000, which was entertaining, but we can’t help but feel bad about anyone that had to watch this movie more than once.

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Final Justice

Somehow, Final Justice managed to pit a Texas Sheriff against the Italian Mafia. Even though Joe Don Baker can do good work, he just doesn’t make it in this movie. Whether it’s the script or the lines, the dialogue comes off extremely flat, and it’s hard to believe he’s anyone’s hero.

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Devil Fish

Monster movies aren’t usually fantastic, but Devil Fish (or Shark) made it hard to be bad in this genre. For once, the acting isn’t the issue in this movie. The problem solely lies in the editing. Some scenes will end without any warning, which causes some lines to be cut off and action sequences to end prematurely. Hilarious? Yes. Scary? Not so much.

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The Blade Master

The Blade Master has a pretty strange plot. Miles O’Keeffe had the idea of a man that has to save the world from the “Geometric Nucleus” while in the Stone Age. If it sounds confusing, it’s because it was. Audiences weren’t a fan and found the film to be pretty sloppy. The low budget made it feel goofier than intended and, it wasn’t a hit with critics.

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Boggy Creek II: And the Legend Continues

We’re not sure Boggy Creek II was ever a serious project. It’s about finding bigfoot in the swamps of Arkansas. The film features scenes we definitely could have done without, including an outhouse scene that's just…gross. Take our word for it and pass. The acting doesn’t do it any favors, and it’s pretty boring to boot.

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The Pumaman

Few episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 are as good as The Pumaman, but why is that? First, you have to start with a horrible film, and The Pumaman checks all the boxes necessary – bad acting, poor script, etc. Even the concept is ridiculous. I mean, it’s about a guy that is like a puma, but can fly and teleport? Someone doesn’t know what a puma is.

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Jaws 3-D

Movies shot in 3D have only recently gotten popular in cinemas because they used to be too expensive to film. Jaws 3-D attempted this style in the 80s, and it didn’t really work out.  While it scared children, adults were left unfazed and distracted by the horrible 3D effects. The plot and lack of tension only made it even worse.

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Warrior of the Lost World

Post-apocalyptic settings were huge in the 80s and did pretty well – except Warrior of the Lost World. Audiences found it so bad that they laughed like it was the top comedy hit of the year. Maybe its greatest sin was trying to make a cash grab from those that adored the Mad Max series.

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