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Home > Entertainment > Worst ever B-movies

Some B-movies have become cult classics, partly as a result of their peculiarities. Fans of low-budget cult films often use the phrase "so bad it's good" to describe movies that are so poorly made that they become an entertaining "comedy of errors". Unlike more mundane bad films, these films develop an ardent fan following who love them because of their poor quality, because normally, the bevy of errors (technical or artistic) or wildly contrived plots are unlikely to be seen elsewhere. This is a collection of the "best" of the worst B movies.


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1) The Giant Claw (1957)

The Giant Claw is a 1957 sci-fi film directed by Fred F. Sears and starring Jeff Morrow about a giant bird ("... as big as a battleship!") that terrorizes the world. The Giant Claw has gone down in history as one of the worst movies ever made, mainly because of its terrible special effects. The bird in particular is considered one of history's worst movie monsters, being an unconvincing marionette puppet with a very odd face. The film is riddled with stock footage, making continuity a serious issue. Morrow later confessed in an interview that no one in the film knew what the titular monster looked like until the film's premiere. Morrow himself first saw the film in his hometown, and hearing the audience laugh every time the monster appeared on screen, he left the theater early, embarrassed that anyone there might recognize him.

The Giant Claw

2) Eegah! The Name Written in Blood (1962)

The film's notoriety as a particualry awful film was enhanced as a result of being featured on episodes of Canned Film Festival and Mystery Science Theater 3000, and was one of the films listed in Michael Medved's book The Fifty Worst Films of All Time. One of the film's more inept moments became a running joke on the show: Hall, Sr.'s line "Watch out for snakes!" is blurted out, despite any visual source for the dialog. The line became a running gag, both on other episodes of the show and in a limited fashion as a pop-culture meme, appearing on The Office and as the closing line of The Rick Emerson Show. In one scene, when a frisky Eegah expresses what seems to be romantic interest in the lead actress Roxy, her father, fearful that the creature may kill them both if he is rebuffed, suggests "she put up with as much of it as she can bear."


3) Monster A Go-Go (1965)

Monster A Go-Go had an unusual production history. Director Bill Rebane ran out of money while making the film. Subsequent director Herschell Gordon Lewis, who needed a second film to show with his own feature, Moonshine Mountain, bought the film, added a few extra scenes and some dialogue, and then released it, creating an odd, disjointed film with little continuity. Rebane had abandoned the film in 1961; Lewis did not finish the film until 1965 and so was unable to gather all of the original cast, resulting in almost half the characters disappearing midway through the film to be replaced by other characters who fill most of the same roles. One of the actors Lewis was able to get back had dramatically changed his look in the intervening years, necessitating his playing the brother of the original character.

Monster A Go-Go

4) Robot Monster (1953)

Robot Monster's cliched storyline and cheesy special effects has helped it attain status as a cult film. Twenty-five-year-old writer/director Phil Tucker made Robot Monster in four days for an estimated $16,000. The film is similar in plot to Invaders from Mars, released a month earlier by Fox. Both pictures contain a young boy stumbling upon an alien invasion who is captured as he struggles to save his family and himself. As the alien commences the final destruction of Earth the boy awakens to find it was all a dream. Despite rumors to the contrary, the film did receive some decent reviews and grossed $1,000,000 in its initial release, more than sixty times its original investment. The poor quality of the movie gave rise to a long-lived rumor within the film industry that the poor reception from audiences caused director Phil Tucker to attempt suicide, with a gun, but missed.

Robot Monster

5) Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)

The plot of "Plan 9 from Outer Space" is focused on extraterrestrial beings who are seeking to stop humans from creating a doomsday weapon that would destroy the universe. In the course of doing so, the aliens implement "Plan 9", a scheme to resurrect Earth's dead as zombies to get the planet's attention, causing chaos. Critics say the absurdity of the film is found in the dialog rather than on-screen action. Criswell begins the narration by referring to future events, only to later describe them in the past tense ("...the full story of what happened on that fateful day"). Other examples of misleading lines include when Jeff Trent describes the saucers to his wife as having a cigar shape, even though the craft seen in the film is of saucer form. String is clearly visible from the top of the wobbly saucer to the top of the screen. These same flying saucers cast obvious shadows on the mothership in the "space" backdrop.

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6) The Beast of Yucca Flats (1961)

The Beast of Yucca Flats starred Swedish former wrestler Tor Johnson. The movie was filmed entirely silent, and thus narration, voiceovers, and sound effects were added in post production. To avoid having to synchronize the audio to the picture, characters only speak when their faces are either off-screen or not clearly visible due to darkness or distance. It also includes extensive narration to minimise the necessity of plot points being conveyed through dialogue. The opening scene starts with the strangling murder of a woman who has just stepped out of the shower and is thus topless - it is implied that the killer sexually abuses her corpse. The identity of the murderer is never revealed and the murder is never discussed after that scene. According to an interview with Anthony Cardoza, the scene was added after the film was complete because Coleman Francis "liked nude scenes."

The Beast of Yucca Flats

7) The Creeping Terror (1964)

The Creeping Terroris a 1964 horror/sci-fi film, in which a sluglike monster terrorises an American town after escaping from a crashed spaceship. The monster in the film somewhat resembles a rug or thick blanket, hence has been called the "carpet monster". This was because first creature was lost (possibly stolen), and the director Vic Savage had to recreate the creature without professional help. This dry-carpet version, with shaggy feet visible underneath, was the best that Savage could pull together. The creature had no real way to grab onto its victims, meaning that the people who get eaten in the course of the film appear to be crawling inside its mouth of their own volition. Absurdly, the narrator speaks over much of the dialogue in the film, while long bouts devoid of dialogue have no narration at all.

The Creeping Terror

8) Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)

The story involves the denizens of the planet Mars, including Momar ("Mom Martian") and Kimar ("King Martian") who are worried that their children Girmar ("Girl Martian") and Bomar ("Boy Martian") are watching too much Earth television. The Martian leaders decide to kidnap Santa Claus from Earth and bring him to Mars to make toys for the children of their planet. One warmongering Martian, Voldar, is in constant disagreement with this idea and repeatedly tries to kill Santa Claus. The film took on newfound fame in the '90s after being featured on an episode of the comedy series Mystery Science Theater 3000. It became a holiday staple on the Comedy Central cable channel in the years following its 1991 premiere, helping it become one of the series' most popular episodes. It has since found new life again in the 2000s having been riffed by Cinematic Titanic, which includes five former cast members from MST3K, as of November 2008.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

9) Devil Girl From Mars (1954)

Devil Girl from Mars is a black and white 1954 British science fiction film, directed by David MacDonald. It was adapted from a stage play and became a cult favorite. Nyah, a sexy, commanding female alien dressed in black vinyl, is headed for London. She is part of the advanced team that are looking for men to replace the dying male population on their planet. However, because of foggy conditions, she is forced to land her flying saucer in the remote Scottish moors. She is armed with a raygun, and accompanied by a menacing robot. The film opens in the lobby of a country inn where most of the movie takes place. The alien intermittently enters the inn lobby, makes threats, then leaves so the residents can contemplate her words. The film is notable as the first science fiction film Gerry Anderson (Thunderbirds, UFO, Space: 1999) edited.

devil girl from mars

10) Octaman (1971)

'Octaman' has one of the worst rubber costumes in the whole movie history. Created by Sixth time Oscar award winner special effects guru Rick Baker ('Gorillas in the Mist), the creature is a half man half octopus mutant, who terrorizes people in a small Mexican village. A group of scientists tries to catch the creature but Octaman seems to be much smarter than he looks. Some people will die and some will survive to stand up in the final battle against the powerful freak of nature.

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