On the heels of my buddy BFilmFan suggesting the worst sci-fi TV shows ever — and for having the guts to call out Enterprise, which is a Geekend tradition — I came across this list of guilty pleasure sci-fi movies. You know, the films you know are terrible but watch anyway, hoping no one finds out. (Thanks, SF Signal.) Over at io9, they list the 20 Best-Worst sci-fi movies ever. You may also recall we noted the 10 worst comic book movies ever back in the day.
Well, here's my list of guilty pleasures that, while not good movies, I somehow end up watching all the way through whenever I surf past them on cable.
- Real Genius: Val Kilmer's best role this side of Tombstone, he plays wunderkind physics undergrad Chris Knight, who squares off against his unscrupulous professor, who in turn tries to dupe Kilmer and his buddies into building a weapon of mass destruction. This is the movie that The Big Bang Theory tries to be and fails. It includes probably the greatest use of popcorn ever put to film, with a 1980s soundtrack that is just too awesome to miss.
- Big Trouble in Little China: John Carpenter's greatest schlockfest, combining all the best-worst pulp elements of Chinese chop-socky films, low-rent pop fantasy, and 1980s action flicks. Truly, this is Kurt Russell's finest performance as Jack "Porkchop Express" Burton. Russell teams up with his buddy Wang to defeat undead Chinatown gangster-slash-sorcerer Lo Pan, who has kidnapped their girlfriends in order to marry and kill them. Watch it, and then crave your own "six demon bag."
- Superman II: This is either the greatest superhero movie ever made or the worst (and probably both). This film graced us with the arch-camp villain General Zod and his Kryptonian cohorts Ursa and Non, which led to perhaps the most awesome superhero throwdown in the history of cinema. Unfortunately, this is also the flick that saw Supes try to defeat one of the villains with a giant plastic version of his chest-symbol. Thus, the so-bad-it's-awesome place on this list.
- Crossworlds: A really horrible low-budget fantasy-action-adventure-trainwreck starring Rutger Hauer and Josh Charles as dimension-hopping freedom fighters trying to stop a mystical corporate overlord form conquering the universe. It's got swordfights, midget enforcers, and a magic crystal wizard staff that is never really explained. Utter awesome.
- Killer Klowns from Outer Space: You may be shocked to learn this, but clowns aren't accidentally creepy, they're intentionally creepy because they mimic the horrible smiles of alien invaders that occasionally return to Earth to feed upon the flesh of humanity. Their spaceships look like big tops, their flesh-harvesting cocoons look like cotton candy, and their popcorn guns breed carnivorous jack-in-the-box monsters. And don't even ask about the brutal inspiration for ventriloquist dummies. A failure too grand to be missed.
Got your own list of favorite awful-yet-awesome movies? Share 'em in the comments section. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.
Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can also follow him on his personal blog.