Caddyshack II (1988)
The original Caddyshack was a cult classic that helped shape the classic comedies of the '80s, so it comes as no surprise that Hollywood execs attempted to recreate its genius with a sequel. Unfortunately, this attempt backfired! Caddyshack II was overwhelmingly negative; critics and audience members alike couldn't help but feel shortchanged from the funny scenes of the first film.
Those who found some amusement in it did so mostly because of its sheer ridiculousness; however, for many viewers, Caddyshack II failed spectacularly in comparison with its predecessor. Let's hope Hollywood execs learned their lesson—don't tamper with perfection.
Extra Terrestrial Visitors (1983)
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.
Heaven’s Gate (1980)
The ill-fated movie Heaven's Gate is notorious for its outrageous budget of $44 million—and the controversy surrounding it. Despite having cutting-edge special effects, that's not why money was spent on reshoot after reshoot; the director's perfectionism (or perhaps mismanagement) was to blame.
When it finally debuted in theaters as a four-hour epic, esteemed critic Roger Ebert dubbed it "an unqualified disaster" and "the most scandalous cinematic waste [he'd] ever seen"—an apt description given the amount of money wasted on its production. Unsurprisingly, its director took home a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director in the '80s for this colossal flop.
Xanadu was an '80s movie that won't likely make its way onto anyone's top movies of the decade list. Critics and most viewers agreed it was too campy, with garish Art Deco themes throughout, plus strangely wooden performances from its actors.
Although it wasn't necessarily bad, per se, it was...just bizarre. Fans of cult classics may appreciate it, but for everyone else, you're better off taking a pass on this one.
The Garbage Pail Kids Movie (1987)
The Garbage Pail Kids Movie is one for the books. As if taken straight from a nightmare, it earned an impressive 0% Rotten Tomatoes score, with every critic unanimously agreeing just how terrible it was. From grotesque scenes to its "humor" that could only be deemed cringeworthy, it’s no wonder parents from all over launched a nationwide protest as soon as they caught wind of it—despite never being marketed as a children's movie.
All in all, it makes for an interesting case study to explore what NOT to do when creating a movie.
The Apple (1980)
The unfortunate debut of this feature certainly set the tone for how audiences were going to respond—and it’s no surprise that it resulted in a hilarious moment that has now become the stuff of movie-making legend: mid-screening at the premiere, the crowd threw their complimentary copies of the disastrously upbeat disco rock opera soundtrack at the screen. Somehow these stars didn’t see it coming; who knew a futuristic take on rock opera with generous doses of sugary pop wouldn't fare well?
Nowadays, you can get editions of this flop which even feature comedic commentary delivered by those wry former Mystery Science Theater 3000 archetypes—something to display your love-hate relationship with disaster movies in your home theater.
The magnificent disaster known as Inchon was the victim of so many obstacles that you'd think it was entirely jinxed! Despite astronomical production costs of $46 million and a director not even making it to the start line, this "film" still somehow made it to a theater near you.
Sadly, reviews across the board unanimously declared it an utter failure. The Washington Post labeled it "the worst film ever made," while Newsweek and TV Guide were just as damning in their verdicts. If anything, its two Razzie Awards for Worst Picture and Worst Screenplay are considered huge improvements from its initial reception!
Tarzan, The Ape Man (1981)
Tarzan, The Ape Man may have made a splash at the box office, but it was met with plenty of disdain from critics. Its terrible acting and pathetic screenplay left many viewers feeling disappointed—one critic went as far as to call it a "cinematic atrocity."
It's no surprise that it received multiple nominations at the Golden Raspberry Awards for its, shall we say, all-star performances. While the cast and crew didn't walk away entirely empty-handed (since Bo Derek managed to collect Worst Actress), many moviegoers still lament the lost potential of this classic story.
Mommie Dearest (1981)
Mommie Dearest has gone down in film history for its comically bad acting and makeup, but it was meant to be taken seriously. It didn't quite turn out that way, however: the movie proceeded to win a whopping five Razzies during its 1981 release, including Worst Picture and Worst Actress.
With nine nominations total, few films have been as critically panned as this one! That being said, many people still get a kick out of watching the ridiculously bad makeup and performances, laughing along at what was once supposed to be an earnest attempt at drama.
The Man Who Saved the World (1982)
The Man Who Saved the World was quite the ambitious endeavor. It attempted to combine the sci-fi classic Star Wars with Turkish culture, but it became a laughing stock after it had been released. With an awful plot, terrible dialogue, and basically no special effects to speak of, it's no wonder that this movie completely crumbled!
Be wary when someone attempts to mix two wildly different genres together. As The Man Who Saved the World showed us, it's not always a good idea.
Howard the Duck (1986)
Howard the Duck has been famously panned by critics for decades now, and for good reason. It was a pretty huge misstep among fans to choose live-action for a character whose main appeal was his far-out comic book personality. It just didn't translate well onscreen, creating the unintentionally terrifying duck we've all seen in nightmares.
What's more, any emotional depth that Howard had in the original comics was almost completely lost; with a barely functional beak, he couldn't act or emote, consequently making him an otherwise unimpressive protagonist. On top of all this, the "blue humor" in the movie (if you can call it that) fell flat, which led to its current place as the lowest-ranked film produced by Lucasfilms.
Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman had a lot of potential for a movie that could have been huge—but it ended up as an expensive flop that no one could understand. It had a pricey budget of $55 million after reshoots and slow, unappealing jokes that left the audience scratching their heads.
Unfortunately, two Razzie awards later (and a ranking as one of the worst films by Time Magazine), it's clear that getting two A-list stars doesn't guarantee success. Everything else needs to align too!
It's not hard to figure out why this movie landed itself a spot as one of the most universally loathed films out there. I mean, what were they thinking? It seems like it was just a desperate attempt to capitalize on the success of E.T. Not exactly creative and, if you ask me, not even worth watching.
So, here's a word of warning: don't be fooled by the childlike naivete inherent in its premise! Unless, that is, you want to spend two whole hours being bombarded by pure pain...I don't think so.
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
Superman IV is a prime example of what not to do when adapting a popular comic book story for the silver screen. This attempt at bringing the classic hero to life was so abysmal that it should serve as a deterrent for any would-be cinematographers.
The acting was cringe-worthy, the special effects were practically non-existent, and compared to other comic book adaptations from the time, it paled in comparison. If you want to remember Superman in all his glory—and still have some respect for your eardrums—give this turkey a miss.
Leonard Part 6 (1987)
The hubris of Hollywood knows no bounds, and Leonard Part 6 was a stunning example of said hubris. Bill Cosby can rightfully be credited for being a pioneer in comedy, but this particular film was so bad that he disowned it before it ever reached theaters. Talk about bad!
The critics were especially cruel when they reviewed this movie, with one going as far as to say, "The only good thing about Bill Cosby's Leonard Part 6 is that we didn't have to see Parts 1 through 5." That pretty much says it all if you ask me. Don't believe the hype, people!
Gremlins was a good movie, so it's no wonder that producers thought they had hit the jackpot when they decided to replicate its success with Hobgoblins–but all this venture did was confirm one of life's most basic truths: if it ain't broke, don't fix it!
With its "moronic" plot and "dreadful" acting, this film has since become an oft-quoted reminder of how not to make a sequel. You'd have to be an absolute "hobgoblin" yourself to ignore the clear message: when in doubt, stick with the original!
Mac and Me (1988)
Ah, Mac and Me—the movie that dared to ask the question: What if E.T. was just a strange alien who liked McDonald's? Unfortunately, this "masterpiece" was met with overwhelmingly negative reviews, culminating in the infamous 0% Rotten Tomatoes score. Critics weren't wrong—the film does play like an extended commercial for McDonald's and Coca-Cola, full of scenes where characters happily sing along to pop songs as they chow down on burgers and soda.
To make matters worse, there were no great revelations coming out of Mac and Me—only Paul Rudd pointing it out during his promotional tours every time he has a new movie release to remind us how bad it was. Not even his charm can make the experience enjoyable; at least with Mac and Me we can all share a laugh at its expense.
Things, an exploitative, low-budget horror flick starring adult film star Amber Lynn, is an abomination that would make Ed Wood blush. Spending a meager $35,000 to make the movie didn’t allow for much production value, and unsurprisingly, it went from bad to worse at lightning speed.
This one was so terrible that it almost managed to survive being in the same category as some of the dreck that populates the genre. Almost...but not quite.
Going Overboard (1989)
Adam Sandler may have been forgiven for his first flop of a movie with Going Overboard, but it's not really the same situation for the writers or director. We don't get off that easily when it comes to taking responsibility; this terrible flick just doesn't make any sense! The plot is all over the place, and the characters have little to no progression.
Simply put, finding someone who enjoys this movie feels like an impossible task—even if you search high and low. There's just no saving grace here.
Boogeyman II (1983)
We thought this movie was supposed to be scary, but it wasn't. Not even close. One of the major issues was that almost 40 minutes of the movie is composed of flashbacks from the first movie, which were great if you never saw it, but unnecessary for those who already saw it.
No one was credited for writing this movie, and we sort of get why when you look at how bad it turned out. Talk about an absolute box-office failure!
Teen Wolf Too (1987)
Although the original Teen Wolf movie wasn't critically acclaimed, it still garnered a devoted fanbase. Upon feeling the pressure of the fans, producers hastily slapped together a sequel with all the subtlety and grace of Frankenstein's monster.
The script was lackluster, and the dialogue practically dripped with cheese—it's no wonder Michael J. Fox decided to bow out rather than carry on with this ill-fated sequel. It turned out to be a wise decision on his part indeed! (Although it didn't seem to hurt Jason Bateman's career too badly...)
Space Mutiny (1988)
Space Mutiny may be one of the worst films of all time, but it was so horrible that it also turned out to be one of the most beloved episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Simply put, it's a hot mess–with an almost non-existent script and actors who are clearly in way over their heads.
It's impossible to watch without cringing, but that's the charm of this sci-fi train wreck–it places viewers in a world of sheer lunacy where only facepalms and laughter can suffice.
Zombie Nightmare (1987)
Adam West's attempt to create a fine movie with Zombie Nightmare was so horrendously unsuccessful that it's willing a dubious title—the third lowest-rated film on IMDb. That's right, folks; it took a level or two lower on the totem pole than watching paint dry.
Who among us hasn't made better selections from the bargain bins at their local video store? Mystery Science Theatre 3000 ran an entertaining parody of this dud, but one can only imagine the misery of those hapless souls forced to watch this turd twice in its entirety.
Final Justice (1985)
Final Justice can be an entertaining movie, but it still falls flat in a few areas. Joe Don Baker is known for his work in some of Hollywood's classics, yet it seems he put none of that talent into this film.
Imagining him as the hero pitted against the Italian Mafia is a hard one to swallow when his lines and delivery come off so stale and lacking of any genuine emotion. While it might have been worth watching for some viewers, even their enthusiasm runs dry after seeing how little justice was done with this project.
Devil Fish (1984)
We've all seen our fair share of bad monster movies, but Devil Fish (or Shark, rather) really did stand out as an exception–and not in a good way. The special effects were okay, and the acting was actually pretty good as far as these flicks go—so what made it subpar?
The editing! With abrupt endings to scenes and lines being cut mid-sentence, you'd be hard-pressed to find a few effective, if not laughably campy moments here and there. It's definitely worth a watch for fans of the genre, but don't expect a masterpiece afterward–however unintentionally funny it might be!
The Blade Master (1982)
The Blade Master is definitely one for the books; Miles O'Keeffe's idea of a man in the Stone Age having to save the world from an abstract concept like the "Geometric Nucleus" was sure to leave audiences scratching their heads. But hey, why not, right?
It wasn't until people realized just how low-budget this film was that it became a laughing stock; with blind leaps in both production and plotline, The Blade Master was widely considered sloppy and hilariously confusing. Needless to say, critics were not fans—and most definitely weren't ready for a movie this goofy!
Boggy Creek II: And the Legend Continues (1985)
Boggy Creek II is a movie about an expedition to locate Bigfoot in the swamps of Arkansas—and it was doomed from the very beginning. With questionable acting, dull story arcs, and a cringeworthy outhouse scene, this film is one you'll want to skip. But some have defended it for its quality as a "so bad it's good" cult classic.
Whether you're a fan or not, there's no denying one thing: Boggy Creek II is an unquestionably curious project with plenty of head-scratching moments.
The Pumaman (1980)
The Pumaman is an absolute classic in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 canon. It's easy to see why; it has all the essential ingredients of a memorable episode: an outrageous plot (seriously, a puma-person?), horrendous acting, and an unforgettable script. On top of that, it's just really strange. The ending is particularly bizarre and serves as the cherry on top of this absurd sundae.
For decades, it's delighted MST3K fans around the globe and deservedly secured its place among other unforgettable episodes of one of the longest-running comedy shows in history.
Jaws 3-D (1983)
Jaws 3-D should be praised for attempting to tap into the 3D market before it was cool. While that effort should be commended, it's obvious why the movie didn't really take off; the special effects in 3D were pretty lackluster, leaving adults completely unimpressed and unaffected.
Not to mention, the plot seemed to be almost non-existent, adding no tension whatsoever—apart from when children feared they might get eaten by a plastic-looking shark on the big screen. All in all, while it's admirable they attempted something new, Jaws 3-D failed because of its unimpressive 3D and boring narrative.
Warrior of the Lost World (1983)
The '80s were awash in post-apocalyptic films, and some achieved great success. But then came along Warrior of the Lost World, which went so far south it could have been mistaken for a morbid comedy act. It was so badly received, audiences literally howled with laughter instead of shock and awe–as if they'd seen the funniest movie trailer they'd ever seen.
It's widely believed that it only existed in order to capitalize on the Mad Max series mania that gripped cinemagoers throughout the decade. Boy, did that turn out to be an epic miscalculation–one that will forever cast its shadow over anyone who dares attempt to replicate its mistakes.