instagram envelope_alt facebook twitter search youtube_play whatsapp remove external_link loop2 arrow-down2

What makes a film so bad it’s good?

THERE’S no shortage of crap movies out there. CHiPs, King Arthur, The Emoji Movie… and that’s just the big-ticket ones you might have actually seen this year.

Generally, bad films are just that — dispiritingly bad. There are some you might actually wish were worse — for example, Diana, the much-derided 2013 biopic of Princess Diana that was, in the end, boringly, just not very good.

Rare, however, is the movie so fabulously rubbish it completely rewrites the rules of ‘bad’, pings the rating needle right back to ‘good’ and tickles you with delight at every guilty rewatching.

Shocker: Tommy Wiseau meets a fan at a showing of his film, The Room, which has been given the James Franco treatment, top

So what is the magic ingredient that raises cheesy dialogue, shoddy camerawork, cardboard acting and plodding editing to a feverish level of cult worship?

To qualify for ‘So Bad It’s Good’ status a movie has to be properly, objectively, laughably ‘Bad’. You want to spread its particular joy and share it.

Hence the communal appeal of The Room, the 2003 film The Disaster Artist is based on, which has gathered its SBIG reputation via packed word-of-mouth midnight screenings.

Awful: Not all rubbish films attain B-movie cult cool status – step forward CHiPs and, below, King Arthur

The Room is a relationship revenge ‘thriller’ so mind-bendingly bad it’s boggling. And, crucially, it was made entirely without irony.

After all, you’d expect schlocky low-grade fun from 1950s B-movie titles like Attack Of The Crab Monsters or The Viking Women And The Sea Serpent, both from legendary ‘King of the Bs’ Roger Corman.

Likewise from the output of The Asylum, a straight-to-DVD studio that specialises in ‘mockbusters’ like Snakes On A Train and great-title-bad-movie nonsense such as Sharknado, all knowingly manufactured to punch our SBIG pleasure buttons.

The Room, however, is exquisitely hilarious precisely because it was obviously intended to be deadly serious — even if its creator, Tommy Wiseau, later tried to claim to the contrary.

Ultimately it is his patent sincerity that makes The Room so remarkable. Trying to top it is utterly futile. It is a true masterpiece of bad.

The best worst films of all time

Showgirls (1995)

Trashy, nipple-tastic classic from the makers of Basic Instinct. Highlights include one of cinema’s all-time worst/most hilarious sex scenes, aka the ‘thrashing dolphin’.

Colour Of Night (1994)

More (not) hot swimming pool sex in this beyond bizarre erotic mystery slasher with a demand-your-money-back twist, starring Bruce Willis as a colourblind psychologist.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001)

Tom Green’s hard-to-stomach neo-surrealist grossout. YouTube ‘Daddy Do You Want Some Sausages?’ and prepare to squeak out loud.

Charles Dickens’s England (2009)

Improbably amusing Britdoc in which Derek Jacobi walks woodenly around London pointing at sites Dickens may (or may not) have visited.

Battlefield Earth (2000)

John Travolta trashed his recently restored Pulp Fiction cred by self-producing this flabbergasting Scientologist folly, starring himself as an alien called Teri.