Being a good bad film is a sort of anomaly. If movie makers attempt to make a humorously bad film, the results are often less than ideal. It is, after all, the awkward charm of a terrible movie attempting to be good that makes it all the more entertaining.

That being the case, there are few truly brilliant bad films, standing as a sort of phenomenon in an otherwise chaotic, depressing sea of nonsense. These are the classic bad movies that really are worth the time, and are a basically guaranteed laugh festival.

Miami Connection – 1987

A running theme in this list is foreigners that attempted to make a film in the style of the American action genre, without understanding it on any level. Miami Connection was the result of martial artist Y.K Kim attempting to break into Hollywood, despite the fact that he barely spoke English, and couldn’t act.

To call Miami Connection tonally deaf is the understatement of the century, with emotional, heartfelt monologues sloppily delivered one moment, only for the mood to be completely undercut by a gleefully blood soaked murder spree ten minutes later. 

Combine this visual mess with a catchy soundtrack that celebrates friendship, and you have the recipe for awful gold.

Samurai Cop – 1991

Amir Shervan, now a celebrated legendarily bad director, attempted numerous times to make an American buddy cop action film. He failed every time, with increasingly hilarious results. Shervan, it seems, knew the tropes of a film of this type, but had no real idea how to bring the elements together into something that worked.

Samurai Cop, released in 1991, is an absolute disaster on just about every level. But the mess is saved by a cast that get into character and seem to be aware of just how awful a film they’re in. Unforgivably bad, tone deaf dialogue is delivered by actors that either couldn’t care less, or just seem to be goofing off. The result is comedy genius, but for reasons that Shervan obviously didn’t intend at the time of shooting.

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Hard Ticket To Hawaii – 1987

Unlike the other movies on this list, it’s hard to know just how self-aware Hard Ticket To Hawaii is. Yes, it’s painfully bad, insultingly poorly acted, and is completely unashamed about being nothing more than a celebration of naked bodies, and unnecessarily blatant violence. But, in a movie where a character shoots a blow-up sex doll out of the air with a rocket launcher, for no reason other than because the director thought it would get a reaction out of the audience, it’s hard to level serious criticism. A giant snake also bursts out of a toilet in one scene, just to hammer the point home.

No one working on this thought it was going to be a masterpiece, and instead it seems as if the cast were simply leaning into something they knew was awful. To say that Hard Ticket To Hawaii isn’t entertaining, on the other hand, probably just depends on how drunk or stoned you are at the time of watching. 

It’s hilariously bad, and who can complain about that?

Lauren Sanchez - Author

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