I hate mediocre films. It pains me to see untapped potential, a production where everyone involved seems only mildly interested. What I do love, though, is bad films. Films where mediocrity crosses a line into something so abysmal that you have to wonder what had to have happened to the production for it to go so terribly, terribly wrong. Films where there are no redeemable features, films that make the Twilight franchise look like Citizen Kane. What you have here is a selection of four such unintentionally hilarious films, ridiculous in their own ways. They are not given in any particular order, although the last one is my personal favourite.
Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky
Yes, that really is the title of the film. No, I’m not joking. Riki-Oh is a Chinese action film set in a privatised prison. Seems fairly standard so far – plenty of fairly decent films like that over in the West, as well. What makes this one stand out, though, is the generous use of gore throughout the plot. Now, ‘generous’ seems to be a bit of an understatement in the circumstances – the amount of blood and guts on screen at any given time is so abundant, and so unrealistic, that it makes modern gorefests like Saw and Hostel look like Disney films. Over the course of the film, Ricky regularly punches through people – and I mean all the way through – crushes people’s skulls with his bare hands, and, at one point, uppercuts a prisoner so hard that his jaw flies clean off his face. All of this is so over-the-top that it makes the film very difficult to take seriously. What completely kills the picture, though, are two scenes that I will now do my best to describe.
The first one is a fight scene between Ricky and a prisoner named Oscar. During the course of the action, Ricky gouges one of Oscar’s eyes out, and you would have thought that the filmmakers would want to give the violence a rest after that. But no – in what is perhaps one of the craziest scenes in action film history, Oscar attempts disembowelment, and when Ricky tries to stop him, he tries to strangle the hero with his intestines. And before you have time to think about what just happened, one of the guards remarks “You’ve got a lot of guts, Oscar!” That pun is terrible enough as it is – what makes it even worse is the hilariously inadequate dubbing, which doesn’t match the lip movements of the actors (if you want to give them the honour of calling them actors) in the slightest. The second scene I will leave you to discover on your own. Let’s just say it involves pushing a huge man through a meat grinder. Definitely check out this hilariously dark manga adaptation.
Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus
This film defies all possible explanation. I could talk to you about the terrible acting, or the terrible plot, but I think that Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus can be defined solely by a certain plane attack scene. The scene starts off with a terrible looking CGI airplane flying through a storm. The graphical quality can be compared to a pre-rendered cut-scene of a PS1 game, but whatever. Occasionally we can have good films with bad special effects. A stewardess walks through the plane, telling everyone to calm down. A man tries to get up, and is quickly stopped by said stewardess. “I’m getting married in two days”, the man says, for absolutely no reason. Now, I was already rolling on the floor laughing from the mock-serious atmosphere – it couldn’t possibly get any worse. Or could it?
The man looks dramatically to the window of the plane, his face turning into an expression of over-exaggerated horror. “Holy sh*t!”, he yells, and then it happens. A shark – yes, a shark – jumps through the air and takes the plane down in its jaws. You can’t make this stuff up, folks. This scene was so absurd that I was speechless for a moment, unable to comprehend the stupidity of everyone involved. This is one of those moments where you realize that this very scene had to go through several stages of production – many people would have had to agree with putting the scene in the film – and someone had to actually pay for it. Wow. It’s a shame that the rest of the film, while terrible, doesn’t have the same ironic value, but I would recommend watching it just for the plane attack alone.
The Room has gathered quite the cult following over the recent years, possibly due to its – er – charismatic, shall we say, star, Tommy Wiseau, an American with an unexplainably bad French accent. Wiseau also directed, produced and wrote this atrocity – it remains unclear whether this entire project was a serious drama that went horribly wrong somewhere amidst production, or just a huge trolling attempt that seems to have succeeded. What is clear, however, is that this is really one of the worst films ever made, and this is evident in every single aspect – acting, dialogue, script – you name, it’s all bad.
There are many scenes here that are worthy of the article. For example, at one point, Wiseau’s steps out onto the roof of his building, yelling out “I did not hit her, I did not!” in his typically ridiculous accent. Suddenly, his expression changes completely, and with a grin on his face he says “Oh hi Mark!” Or the fan favourite, “You are telling me apart, Lisa!” quote, delivered with such unnecessary emotional gusto that you won’t be able to keep a straight face. Plot threads are opened, such as a character announcing that they have cancer, never to be resolved – the cancer is never mentioned again. One scene, where Tommy exchanges comments with a shop clerk (I think it’s entitled “Nice Doggy” on YouTube), is bewildering in its lack of structure and line delivery. If you think that you can’t stomach watching over 90 minutes of this garbage, then just find a “Best of” compilation video of all the various scenes on YouTube – you’ll be quoting the various lines for weeks to come.
And here it is, ladies and gentlemen – this is quite clearly the worst film of all time. There are no redeeming features here, absolutely everything is complete and utter thrash. For a start, you may be misled by thinking that there might be some trolls in the film, due to its title – but no, there is not a single one present. You see, the producers themselves were so unsure about the quality of their film that, in order to make at least some cash, decided to piggyback on the success of another film, Troll, which was totally unrelated in terms of plot and subject material. If that’s not a recipe for disaster, I don’t know what is. And it gets worse.
The film concerns a family who go to a town called ‘Nilbog’, where bizarre happenings occur. In a shocker of a plot twist, helped by what is quite clearly award-winning writing, it is revealed to us that the town is actually full of goblins, because, you see, ‘Nilbog’ is ‘Goblin’ spelled backwards. Genius stuff. The amount of golden moments here is staggering – casual castration threats, awkward dance numbers, a sex scene involving popcorn (?)… The greatest scene out of the entire film, though, is when a character, under the dramatic close-up of the camera, says, in a casually disinterested tone, “They’re eating her – and then they’re going to eat me!” After this, he yells out “Oh my God!” in a way that is impossible to describe in words. The effect is doubled due to the hilariously dramatic music. I was in tears. Watch it – you will never complain about the films your friends drag you to see ever again.