This time of year, the weather sucks so much that leaving the house is even more of a chore than it normally is. That’s when your best course of action is stay on the couch and watch movies—but sometimes you’ve seen all the good ones. What then? I’ll tell you what then—then you watch the bad movies. We’ve picked out a crowd of movies so bad you can’t help but enjoy, and they’re all available online, too.
1) Bride of Re-Animator
Jeffrey Combs returns as Herbert West, Miskatonic University’s maddest scientist (as does Bruce Abbott as his frenemy, Dan Cain). Though Brian Yuzna’s sequel doesn’t achieve the amusing, creepy cult-classic heights of Stuart Gordon’s original Lovecraft adaptation, it’s still pleasantly cheesy and fun.
2) Don’t Go in the House
The too-generic title (not to be confused with, for instance, Don’t Look in the Basement) doesn’t do this genuinely unsettling early slasher film justice. It’s about a guy (Dan Grimaldi, now a math professor who also appeared on The Sopranos) who takes out his severe, Psycho-on-speed mommy issues on his female victims by burning them alive, though the sicko quality of the kill scenes is tempered somewhat by the film’s excellently dated other elements. Like the bizarre disco-dancing scene.
3) Bad Taste
Peter Jackson’s feature debut—a gory, schlocky scifi comedy about aliens in small-town New Zealand, which he shot over four years’ worth of weekends in the mid-1980s—was supposed to be bad on about every level imaginable, and he succeeded. Watching this movie is made doubly more enjoyable by realizing that eventually someone allowed this guy to make Lord of the Rings.
4) Forbidden Zone
It’s never a bad time to watch this exquisitely weird, breezily offensive musical about inter-dimensional travel starring Hervé Villechaize and Susan Tyrrell (and music by Danny Elfman and the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo). First-timers will wonder if their eyes are sending the right messages to their brain; repeat viewers will happily sing along and spout their favorite raunchy lines.
5) Message From Space
The special effects in Kinji Fukasaku’s outstandingly blatant nod to Star Wars may not be up to par, but the movie has one thing George Lucas never did: Sonny “Street Fighter” Chiba, who plays the heroic Prince Hans. The trailer isn’t lying when it says this movie must be seen to be believed.
6) Queen of Blood
This 1966 scifi epic is set in the year 1990, when Earth has the resources to investigate mysterious spaceship crashes that take place on Mars. The sole survivor happens to be a female alien who... well, see title. As an added bonus, the cast includes no less than Basil Rathbone, John Saxon, and Dennis Hopper.
7) Street Trash
Life sucks, but no matter what you do, stay the hell away from Viper Wine.
8) Deadly Blessing
Just a few years before he achieved blockbuster success with A Nightmare on Elm Street, Wes Craven made this creeper about a cult whose members’ Amish-like simple ways mask their devotion to some seriously evil ancient forces. Clearly, a clash with the outside world is inevitable and won’t turn out well for anyone. The cast includes the legendary Ernest Borgnine, Craven favorite Michael Berryman (of The Hills Have Eyes), and a then-unknown Sharon Stone.
9) The Eternal
A family seeking a fresh start travels to Ireland in this gothic entry from writer-director Michael Almereyda (Nadja). Too bad that family includes Christopher Walken as the crazy uncle who’s obsessed with reviving a soul-stealing ancient witch.
10) Friday the 13th Part III
Nobody ever says part three is their favorite Friday the 13th entry—because it’s terrible. But despite that, it’s full of amazing stuff, including a vengeful biker gang and a prankster character who thinks it’s cute to fake his bloody demise (not long before his actual bloody demise, of course). It’s also the first film in the series to feature the iconic hockey mask, and has an amusing number of set-ups that exist only to take advantage of the fact that it was shot in 3D. Hey, look out for that striking snaaaaake!
11) Jeepers Creepers 2
Controversial writer-director Victor Salva followed up his surprise hit with this horror sequel, in which the scarecrow-monster-thing traps a school bus full of high schoolers on a lonely highway and begins picking them off, one by one. Fortunately, a nearby family of farmers, led by Ray Wise, are heavily armed and primed for some payback.
12) King Kong
Kong: Skull Island opens in March, but you can get your giant-ape fix right now with the 1976 remake of the 1933 classic, which is decidenyl not a classic, and is dated in more ways than one. (Instead of the Empire State Building, the ape climbs the World Trade Center at the end.) Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, and Jessica Lange play the main humans; the decidedly pre-CG Kong was created by special effects legends Rick Baker and Carlo Rambaldi.
James Bond in space! Turns out James Bond does not belong in space, and this film—possibly the goofiest of all Bond films—is ample proof.
14) Terminator: Genysis
Now that some time has passed since the most recent and probably final Terminator movie deposited its blend of incoherence, plot holes, and Emilia Clarke (and her “Pops”) into theaters, we’re actually sort of fond of it. At the very least, it’s worth a rewatch, which is more than we will ever say about Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.
15) Fire in the Sky
Is there a better/more ridiculous/less plausible based-on-a-true-life-alien-abduction movie out there? Doubtful. And certainly none with cast that includes D.B. Sweeney, James Garner, Peter Berg, and E.T. repeat offender Henry Thomas.
With just “Nicolas Cage as a Vegas magician,” you’ve already crossed the so-bad-it’s-good threshold. Everything else—it’s very loosely based on a Philip K. Dick story; Cage has psychic powers, and therefore the FBI (in the form of Julianne Moore, which means this movie has two Oscar-winning thespians in it) wants him to help foil nuke-slinging terrorists; the gotcha! twist ending—is just marshmallow fluff on top.
17) The Lazarus Effect
Remember that brief moment when Olivia Wilde was in every single movie that came out? This was maybe her corniest career decision during that period of over-saturation; it’s a Flatliners-ish tale of a woman whose grief-stricken fiancé brings her back from the dead using her own weird-science invention. The backfires, badly, turning her into a superpowered crazy demon creature. The intriguing supporting cast includes Mark Duplass, Donald Glover, and Evan Peters, one of whom exits the movie when his character is killed by a vape pen.
18) The Queen of the Damned
Everybody remembers Interview With the Vampire, but why no love for this other Anne Rice adaptation? It’s campy as hell, with Lestat (Stuart Townsend... whose career never really recovered) playing a sleazy rock star and Aaliyah, who tragically died before the film was released, oozing deliciously through her role as the title character.
19) Robinson Crusoe on Mars
A retelling of the classic story through a 1960s scifi lens, as an astronaut marooned on Mars suffers isolation, evades aliens, and befriends his very own “Friday.”
20) Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
Think of it this way: it’s still a way more enjoyable movie to watch than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.