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Six More SFF Movies That Are So Bad They’re Good


Six More SFF Movies That Are So Bad They’re Good

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Six More SFF Movies That Are So Bad They’re Good


Published on March 8, 2023


Calling all fans of movies that are so bad they’re good! It’s time to dive into another round of good-bad films. If the comments on my last post are anything to go by, there’s a lot of love for this oddball category, as well as plenty of debate over whether certain movies are cinematic masterpieces or just plain bad. Be sure to check out that article if you want my personal definition of this genre, which encompasses everything from cult classics to guilty pleasures to pure schlock…

With that said, I’ll cut to the chase: Here are six more science fiction and fantasy films that are so incredibly bad that they manage to swing right back around and somehow become good.


Batman & Robin (1997)

There have been a lot of bad comic book movies made over the years, but Batman & Robin is often singled out as one of the worst. In 2009, Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios, even said that it “may be the most important comic-book movie ever made” because “it was so bad that it demanded a new way of doing things.”

While I understand the hatred that it inspired at the time, I think that looking back on it from a current-day perspective leads to a totally different emotion: joy. Sure, Batman & Robin is silly, campy, and goofy—everything audiences didn’t want from a superhero movie. But since then we’ve had countless dark and serious takes on superheroes, and as a result light and funny no longer feels like a slap in the face. The very things that made Batman & Robin a failure when it was first released make it comedy gold today.

The pointy nipples of George Clooney’s Batsuit get a lot of attention, and for good reason—they’re definitely the funniest part of the getup—but I don’t think we should be overlooking the fact that there’s also a literal butt crack carved into it. The silliness of the costumes pairs perfectly with the silliness of the fight scenes, which seem to deliberately harken back to the style of Adam West-era Batman. All of this is capped off with hundreds (I’m only exaggerating this number a little) of one-liners and puns—almost every line uttered by Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a cringe-inducing ice pun. Taken on its own terms, Batman & Robin is far more entertaining than many of the mediocre movies that have been churned out by DC and Marvel in recent years.


Dungeons & Dragons (2000)

Anyone who actually plays D&D beware: this movie is basically an insult to the original game. It’s stuffed full of poor attempts to reference D&D, whilst at the same time not actually being anything like the game itself. But though it lacks both quality and accuracy, if you forget the title completely and watch it through the right lens, this sword and sorcery film is actually a lot of fun.

The plot follows two thieves who are tasked by Empress Savina (Thora Birch) to find the Rod of Savrille, which can control dragons. Also searching for this magical rod is the Big Bad of the movie, Mage Profion (Jeremy Irons). Irons seems to have a great time chewing the scenery, and his hammy overacting shines all the brighter thanks to the contrast of Birch doing the absolute bare minimum (which is funny in its own right).

The hilariously mismatched acting is enhanced by the very poor CGI throughout the film. The rendition of the classic beholder monster is certainly a sight to behold. For anyone who might want to cut this film’s effects a bit of slack because it was released in 2000, let’s not forget that Peter Jackson’s brilliant The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) came out just one year after this eyesore.

Also, I’m giving bonus points to Profion’s head henchman Damodar (Bruce Payne) for basically wearing Ichiban (“the lipstick for men!” from Friends), throughout the movie. His garish blue lips still give me a smile every time they appear on screen.


Warlock: The Armageddon (1993)

Warlock: The Armageddon is a sequel in name only to Warlock (1989). Although Julian Sands plays the titular Warlock in both, he’s essentially a different character in the second movie. Warlock itself has some fun elements—from Richard E. Grant’s questionable Scottish accent to some dodgy special effects used to make the Warlock fly—but it’s not really bad enough to be considered a good-bad film. The sequel, however, became an instant qualifier by ramping up the silliness across the board.

Warlock: The Armageddon follows two connected storylines. In one, Satan’s son, the Warlock, is on a mission to find magical rune stones so that he can unleash Satan on Earth. In the other, two teenagers find out that they belong to a long line of Druids and it’s up to them to stop the Warlock.

It’s an ambitious blend of horror and fantasy, and half of the time it actually manages to pull it off. Sands carries the film on his back, oozing sinister vibes while going on a cross-country killing spree in pursuit of the stones. A lot of these kills are entertainingly creative and the gore looks great when it’s done with practical effects. But the other half of the time, the film is laughably bizarre. There’s cringy CGI, strange camera shots, and cheesy dialogue aplenty—all of which, while not strictly good, are definitely fun in their own way.


Street Fighter (1994)

Street Fighter does away with the martial arts tournament setup of the video game (taking the opposite strategy of the adaptation of Mortal Kombat that followed half a year later). Instead, it takes the characters and crams them into a garbled story about a military dictator trying to take over the world. It also tones down the supernatural elements of the game, though there’s still a glimmer here and there.

Jean-Claude Van Damme leads the film as Guile and it’s definitely not a strong performance. This isn’t surprising given the fact that writer and director Steven E. de Souza later admitted that Van Damme was “coked out of his mind” for the duration of filming. Matters weren’t helped by the strict shooting timeframe the filmmakers had to contend with, resulting in the many fight scenes being rushed and looking sloppy as a result.

But thankfully Raúl Juliá, playing the villainous M. Bison, gives such a theatrically over-the-top performance that he pulls the entire film up with him. This also shouldn’t be surprising, as he took the role because his kids loved the games and he was dying of stomach cancer—giving the part his all was like a parting gift for his two sons. Juliá might be best known for theatre work or his iconic turn as Gomez Addams, but his gloriously camp take on the evil Bison might be the most delightful performance of his career.

Street Fighter is a total mess, but it’s an enjoyable mess. It’s fun to laugh at the chaos that swirls around Juliá, while laughing along with Juliá himself as the great actor goes out with a bang in his final role.


Moonfall (2022)

I briefly mentioned Moonfall in my last list, but I think it’s deserving of its own spot. From the trailer, this film looked like it’d be a big, dumb (but maybe fun) disaster movie about the moon falling out of its orbit and crashing into Earth. It definitely starts out as just another run-of-the-mill, brainless blockbuster—there’s clichéd characters, awful dialogue, and absolutely no concern for getting the science right.

But as the story unfolds, Moonfall takes things to another level and becomes so dumb that it’s almost genius. It makes writer/director Roland Emmerich’s other films, like Independence Day (1996) and The Day After Tomorrow (2004), look like smart, hard-hitting dramas. As things get dumber and dumber in Moonfall, however, it also gets funnier and funnier. But let me be clear: Every joke that’s supposed to be funny falls completely flat. What’s funny is the absolutely ridiculous, dare I say deranged, place where this movie ends up, plot-wise…

Half of the story is spent figuring out the bonkers reason behind what’s going on with the moon. There’s nonsense about A.I. and electrical signals and megastructures in space—all of which is delightfully stupid. The other half sees characters dealing with the ramifications of the moon falling. This includes having time for wild car chases and shoot-outs, all while Earth’s gravity is coming and going in waves. By the time the credits roll you’ll be questioning how this movie ever got made in the first place, and you might even be questioning your own mental faculties—but you’ll also have a massive grin on your face.


Dreamcatcher (2003)

There are a few Stephen King adaptations that could easily make this list, but I’ve decided to go with Dreamcatcher, partly because I think it’s underrated within the good-bad movie genre. King himself isn’t a fan of the book, having written it while high on painkillers, which he was taking after nearly dying when a van ran him down. He told Rolling Stone, “I was pretty stoned when I wrote it, because of the Oxy, and that’s another book that shows the drugs at work.” Well, the movie shows the drugs at work too.

Damian Lewis, Thomas Jane, Timothy Olyphant, and Jason Lee play friends with a supernatural connection who go to a snowy cabin for their annual hunting trip. That sounds like a regular King setup filled out by a decent cast—what could possibly go wrong? If you want absolutely no spoilers then stop reading here.

If you need a little more persuasion to see this one then I’ve got two words for you: shit weasels. Seriously, this film is about parasitic alien creatures that are called shit weasels, at least by Colonel Curtis (Morgan Freeman), who is leading a military unit trying to contain the extraterrestrial threat. The prospect of Morgan Freeman portentously uttering the words “shit weasels” should be enough to convince anyone to give Dreamcatcher a go.

The film seems pretty standard at the start, but things get very weird when the shit weasels hit in the fan. There is a world in which the concept of worm-like aliens exploding out of asses could (and should!) be scary—but unfortunately, it isn’t this world. Instead of scary, it just comes off as silly, and the silliness is then compounded by the telepathic link between the friends. Damian Lewis gives an unhinged performance as Jonesy once he’s possessed by one of the aliens (who’s called Mr. Gray… because he’s gray?), and I’m genuinely in awe of Thomas Jane when he manages to answer a telepathic call by speaking into a handgun without even the barest hint of a smile. That’s commitment.



What do you think of the list so far? Have I still missed out your favorite good-bad movie? Let me know in the comments below!

Lorna Wallace has a PhD in English Literature and is a lover of all things science fiction and horror. She lives in Scotland with her rescue greyhound, Misty.

About the Author

Lorna Wallace


Lorna Wallace has a PhD in English Literature, but left the world of academia to become a freelance writer. Along with writing about all things sci-fi and horror for Reactor, she has written for Mental Floss, Fodor’s, Contingent Magazine, and Listverse. She lives in Scotland with her rescue greyhound, Misty.
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