Help me find bad movie franchises!
December 10, 2008 1:48 PM   Subscribe

Help us find bad movie franchises!

My friends and I deeply enjoy bad movies- not yuck-yuck National Lampoon type crap that's trying (I assume, I hope) to be intentionally bad. I refer, of course, to the movies that everyone on the production side thought were Really Good Ideas- WishMaster, RoboCop 3, Nick Fury staring David Hasselhoff, etc.

Lately, we've been having ourselves mini bad movie marathons featuring movies that have one or more sequels. Sadly tho', we're running out of ideas for these horrible franchises (which should be self explanatory on mentioning we just finished up the Policy Academy... oeuvre).

Please help us demean our remaining life. Give us some more bad franchise fodder.
posted by cheap paper to Media & Arts (68 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I've never seen the first one but Troll 2 is pretty much the greatest movie of all time.
posted by saul wright at 1:56 PM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

Sleepaway Camp!

The first movie is renowned for the lead actress's... lack of acting. Wooden stares all the way. Although it does fit the character, so she's either the best or the worst actress in the world.

The two sequels replaced her with Pamela Springsteen. Yes Bruce's sister. These movies are filled with famous peoples' sisters. From Tracy Griffith to Renee Estevez. They are also filled with much more t & a.

They recently released yet another sequel, and from what I've seen it does the series proud. They even brought back the original Angela!
posted by yellowbinder at 1:57 PM on December 10, 2008

Have you explored the Bring It On franchise? There are *4* Bring It On movies in total- the original, Bring It On Again, Bring It On: All or Nothing, and Bring It On: In It to Win It
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:58 PM on December 10, 2008 [2 favorites]

Ghoulies, anything from Full Moon Entertainment (low-budget horror direct-to-video stuff like Puppet Masters), Kickboxer, American Kickboxer ... those are the ones that come to mind from my days working in a video store.

If none of those fit the bill, should be plenty here.
posted by jbickers at 1:58 PM on December 10, 2008

--The Evil Dead trilogy
--The Leprechaun series of movies
posted by availablelight at 1:58 PM on December 10, 2008

Wishmaster was pure awesome.

Leprechaun series

Troll 1-3

Critters 1-4
posted by ian1977 at 1:59 PM on December 10, 2008

Also, not a series but very bad...

Motel Hell

Rabid Grannies
posted by ian1977 at 2:00 PM on December 10, 2008

Oh, one I really can't stand...The Prophecy. They KEPT MAKING THOSE and they had Eric Stolz and Christopher Walken, and they were baaaaaaaaad
Demonic Toys
Puppet Master
posted by arniec at 2:02 PM on December 10, 2008

The Ernest series of films were universally terrible.

I'm not sure if you'd want to subject yourself to watching all of them, but I would have said the same thing about the Police Academy series.
posted by burnmp3s at 2:02 PM on December 10, 2008

The Mighty Ducks trilogy.
You know, the first two Porkys movies aren't awful (better than Police Academy, anyway), but the third one is goddamn bad.
Did you know they're still rolling out American Pie sequels? They are on five or six, with Eugene Levy still picking up a paycheck.
posted by Bookhouse at 2:10 PM on December 10, 2008

Pick anything produced by Roger Corman (like the nine Bloodfist movies!). Or try Shark Attack 1-3.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 2:11 PM on December 10, 2008


That is all.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:12 PM on December 10, 2008

I can't vouch for whether the production talent though they were Really Good Ideas or not. But female bodybuilder Sue Price starts in "Nemesis 2: Nebula", "Nemesis III: Prey Harder", and "Nemesis 4: Death Angel".

Though the sequence 2, III, 4 probably tells you all you need to know, here's the trailer to 2:
posted by Joe Beese at 2:12 PM on December 10, 2008

- Baby Geniuses
- Spy Kids
- Resident Evil
- Return of the Living Dead (I think they're bad, anyway, especially the third one.)

Also, arniec must be crazy or something, because Phantasm is an awesome series. Awesome. The Tall Man isn't going to like this, not at all.
posted by Dreamcast at 2:13 PM on December 10, 2008

Star Wars
Raiders of the Lost Ark
The Land Before Time
The Godfather
posted by box at 2:14 PM on December 10, 2008

The Neverending Story

The first was actually good, the second was bad, the third was terrible, but "featured" a young and not-yet-famous Jack Black as the villain.
posted by owtytrof at 2:20 PM on December 10, 2008

Not exactly a franchise, but if you feel like hating yourself for 8 hours, you can marathon Stephen King's The Stand

The original The Punisher was pretty awful. The remake is much better, but still wonderfully cheesy.

I'm also a huge fan of SciFi Channel original movies. Especially Ogre and Attack of the Gryphon.
posted by specialagentwebb at 2:24 PM on December 10, 2008

Police Academy seems like the archetypal franchise. 7 films, with fewer and fewer of the original actors as it went along. When Steve Guttenberg takes a pass, you know things have gone downhill.

Also, I second the motion for "Bring It On". Awesomely awful.
posted by GuyZero at 2:26 PM on December 10, 2008

Repo Man (I could have sworn there was a sequel..)
posted by desjardins at 2:26 PM on December 10, 2008

Also, I failed to see you just watched them all. Darn reading comprehension.
posted by GuyZero at 2:27 PM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

I hate to acknowledge that this movie even exists, much less recommend it to anyone, but Gummo. You won't want to watch a sequel.
posted by clearly at 2:28 PM on December 10, 2008

The Highlander series is the best/worst movie franchise ever. Despite the fact that they feature the same character, none of them make any sense in relationship to each other. After each one they thought "god how awful! reboot!" and the results are glorious.
posted by boubelium at 2:28 PM on December 10, 2008

Y'all should watch the Sartana movies.
posted by carsonb at 2:28 PM on December 10, 2008

What no mention of the Bloodrayne films yet? For shame. If you don't watch them, Uwe Boll himself will come and beat you up.

I should also point out that the subsequent "Psycho" films (including the remake) were just horrible.
posted by elendil71 at 2:35 PM on December 10, 2008

For those that mentioned the Troll films, Troll 2 actually had nothing to do withe the original Troll. Which just adds another level of bizarreness to Troll 2, the worst movie of all time.
posted by lunasol at 2:36 PM on December 10, 2008

The Fantastic Four and Captain America would accompany specialagentwebb's Punisher suggestion quite well... if you're going for inflicting deep psychological scars upon yourself, that is.
posted by cog_nate at 2:37 PM on December 10, 2008

This far along and nobody's mentioned the Prince of Darkness, Uwe Boll? I would argue all of his video game-based movies constitute a hellish sort of genre franchise. They're supernaturally terrible, and feature casts of whiplash bizareness.
posted by Skot at 2:39 PM on December 10, 2008

If you go in thinking it's going to be an action movie, The Big Hit, might meet your criteria.
posted by drezdn at 2:39 PM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

For those that mentioned the Troll films, Troll 2 actually had nothing to do withe the original Troll.

"Surf II" tops that - because there was no "Surf I".

As if that didn't make it awesome enough already, it has Eddie Deezen in it.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:44 PM on December 10, 2008

Response by poster: These are all wonderful. Aside from Baby Geniuses. I mean... *full body shutter*

Comic book and video game movies have been mined beyond anything else. Horror and SciFi are both great fodder. 80's barbarian and wizard type movies are beyond ideal.

specialagentwebb: Actually, I own a real live copy of Attack of the Gryphon. When John Rhyes Davies makes an appearance in a film, you know you're in for a treat (brand meat product).

jbickers: A million times thanks for dropping into mix. That's gonna keep me busy for a while. I had completely forgotten about the Richard Chamberlain Allan Quatermain movie and for that alone, I thank you.
posted by cheap paper at 2:49 PM on December 10, 2008

C.H.U.D - John Heard, Daniel Stern, & (five seconds of) John Goodman
C.H.U.D. II - Bud the Chud
posted by djb at 2:50 PM on December 10, 2008

Suburban Commando fits the bill to a T, as would Snowboard Academy.
posted by Industrial PhD at 2:52 PM on December 10, 2008

The Crow movies (they made 4) and Uwe Boll movies.
posted by amarynth at 2:53 PM on December 10, 2008

What about the original D-movie franchise: Godzilla. There are 28 Japanese movies and the (worse, depending on your point of view) Roland Emmerich one.
posted by djb at 2:59 PM on December 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you go in thinking it's going to be an action movie, The Big Hit, might meet your criteria.

Be careful with that one. It's been 10 years since I took my wife to see that and she still hasn't entirely forgiven me.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:06 PM on December 10, 2008

Wow A post after my own heart!

Night of the Lepus (giant Rabbits attack arizona)
Black Roses (demon hair metal band turns kids in to Zombies)
They Live (Rowdy Rowdy Piper and David Keith Fight Yuppies from space)
Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th dimension (you'll just have to see it)
Mitchell (classic cop drama staring Joe Don Baker)
Howard the Duck (just watch)
And of course my namesake "MANOS" The Hands of Fate (quite possibly the worst movie ever made)
posted by manosthf at 3:14 PM on December 10, 2008

Air Bud: Golden Receiver
Air Bud: World Pup
Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch
Air Bud: Spikes Back

MVP: Most Valuable Primate
MVP: Most Vertical Primate
MXP: Most Xtreme Primate

Children of the Corn
Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice
Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest
Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering
Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror
Children of the Corn 666: Isaac's Return
Children of the Corn 7: Resurrection

The Land Before Time I - XIII (I won't torture you by listing them all)
posted by mattbucher at 3:15 PM on December 10, 2008

Pretty much anything with Olivier Gruner is a decent bet, as long as you're happy to include movies that didn't have a theatrical release. Interceptor Force and Interceptor Force 2 spring to mind; I see he's also in the Circuit movies; I don't think I've seen them, but the second installment is titled Circuit II: The Final Punch which (particularly considering that there is in fact a Circuit III) has pretty much got to qualify it.

Deathstalkers 1 through 4, but only if you've got really really funny friends - these are pretty much literally unwatchable otherwise.

There's the Bloodfist series, with Don "The Dragon" Wilson, second only to Gruner in the reliably-really-awful-action-movie stakes. There are eight of them, but beware! Bloodfist: Trained to Kill and Bloodfist: Hard Way Out are actually the same movie! Literally the same movie, rather than "effectively indistinguishable from the other 7 in terms of plot, direction, script, actors and action sequences, but filmed in a different year", like the rest of them.

Have you considered High School Musical? I enjoy the series intensely, and at this point (after 3 movies, the stage show, High School Musical Singstar, and HSM on ice eagerly anticipated for Christmas Eve) I can no longer figure out why - it could be that it's genuinely great (slide home, you score, swingin' on the dance floor!), but it's probably more likely that it's awful.

If you get tired of bad movie marathons, may I suggest bad movie marathon readthroughs? Print out a pile of scripts, assign parts, and perform away. Though it's a bit tricky to find the scripts for anything too out of the mainstream.
posted by severalbees at 3:20 PM on December 10, 2008

I've never seen the first one but Troll 2 is pretty much the greatest movie of all time.

Also I HAVE seen the first one and its freaking incredible. And Julia Louis-Dreyfus is GREAT!
posted by manosthf at 3:21 PM on December 10, 2008

Look Who's Talking, Look Who's Talking Too, Look Who's Talking Now
posted by kimdog at 3:36 PM on December 10, 2008

Missing In Action

"If you get tired of bad movie marathons, may I suggest bad movie marathon readthroughs? Print out a pile of scripts, assign parts, and perform away."

That actually sounds really fun if you can find the right people.

posted by turgid dahlia at 3:40 PM on December 10, 2008

Species 1, 2, 3 & 4.

Also, Under Siege 1 and 2 (and virtually anything w/Steven Seagal in it, for that matter).
posted by cog_nate at 3:44 PM on December 10, 2008

The Cube films start out low budget and decent if overly vague, but the plot line never resolves into anything, and Cube 2: Hypercube is terrible. like, really terrible, and it tries to be as clever as the first but it does a laughable job of it.

I haven't actually seen any of the Beastmaster films, but I think they'd probably work.

Not a franchise, but do yourself a favor and get Zardoz if you haven't seen it. The opening scene is a giant floating head puking out assault rifles. Stars a young Sean Connery in a cocaine fueled clusterfuck of a movie.

Actually, going with the Oz idea, everyone should see the childhood nightmare-fuel that is Return to Oz. And, well, there's always The Wiz...

Parts: The Clonus Horror (either mst3k version or not) should be paired with Michael Bay's The Island, which is entertainingly dreadful in a completely different way.

Hard Boiled is another stand alone film that deserves special mention. It is simultaneously awesome and ludicrous and perfectly captures the Hong Kong action genre. John Woo has a pretty good selection of bad films to be honest, though for more in the Hong Kong style I'd suggest a Better Tomorrow, which is actually a pretty decent movie.

Finally, Black Mask and Black Mask 2: City of Masks. The first is a fun over the top Jet Li sci-fi homage to the Green Lantern. The second one is one of the worst movies I've ever seen. It starts off bad when you realize that they couldn't get Jet Li to return so just replaced him with another actor, and then gets worse as you realize the movie centers around mutated professional wrestlers (played by actual professional wrestlers). Keep an eye out for Traci Lords and Rob Van Dam.
posted by CheshireCat at 4:13 PM on December 10, 2008

I'm not sure what it means, but a couple of movies on this list are personal faves of mine (Repo Man and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai come immediately to mind).

As for awful chain franchises, the mid-series Rocky films were pretty bad, as were the later Predator and Highlander movies and all of the Rambo films. The later Alien series started strong (one and two were good) but went downhill after that, and the coups de grĂ¢ce were the Alien-Versus-Predator movies.

The cream of the crap, though, would have to be Allen Quartermain and the Lost City of Gold and its sequel King Solomon's Mines.
posted by workerant at 4:13 PM on December 10, 2008

I second the recommendation of the Highlander franchise. The first one was actually at least moderately good. But boy, did the second and third ones stink!

Also, Mortal Kombat. The first one was an OK B-movie martial arts film. The second one was really awful. Yikes what junk! (You know a sequel is going to be bad when Christopher Lambert refuses to come back for it!)

If you want a good indicator of bad films, just run down Lambert's CV. And once you're done with that, run down David Carradine's CV.
posted by Class Goat at 4:16 PM on December 10, 2008

The Transporter movies?
posted by Night_owl at 5:01 PM on December 10, 2008

posted by lovejones at 5:05 PM on December 10, 2008

There are four sequels to the abysmal Silent Night, Deadly Night, apparently. Part two includes the semi-famous "garbage day!" clip, as seen on the internet.
posted by interrobang at 5:12 PM on December 10, 2008

Home Alone
Honey I shrunk the Kids
posted by knile at 5:13 PM on December 10, 2008

I know plenty of bad movies, but seeing as you asked for BAD MOVIE FRANCHISES (most people here seem to have missed that stipulation), here's my suggestions:
Children of the Corn 1-7
Reanimator, Bride of Reanimator, Beyond Reanimator
Hellraiser 1-6
The Omen 1-4 (newest film not included)
Resident Evil 1-3
The Thumb Movies (Thumb Wars, Blair Thumb, God Thumb, Bat Thumb, FrankenThumb, Thumbtanic)
Robocop 1-3
Earnest 1-11
The Living Dead 1-16
The Blind Dead 1-4
Death Wish 1-5
Pumpkinhead 1-4
Slumber Party Massacre 1-4
Return of the Living Dead 1-5
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1-4
Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS 1-4
Killer Tomatoes! 1-4

(For the record, I've seen all of these films and oh, OH so many more. That's what happens when you a)work at a movie rental place for 2 years WHILE being single AND smoking a TON of weed and b)download every film you can get your hands on, convert them to Ipod format, and watch them while at work all day, then give snarky movie reviews nobody reads on your Myspace Blog)
posted by Bageena at 5:24 PM on December 10, 2008

Tremors II: Aftershocks
Tremors 3: Back to Perfection
Tremors 4: The Legend Begins

3 Ninjas
3 Ninjas Kick Back
3 Ninjas Knuckle Up
3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain (Hulk Hogan & Jim Varney)

The Karate Kid
The Karate Kid, Part II
The Karate Kid, Part III
The Next Karate Kid (Hilary Swank)

Iron Eagle
Iron Eagle II: The Battle Beyond the Flag
Aces: Iron Eagle III
Iron Eagle IV

Missing in Action
Missing in Action 2: The Beginning
Braddock: Missing in Action III

Universal Soldier
Universal Soldier II: Brothers in Arms
Universal Soldier III: Unfinished Business
Universal Soldier: The Return

Kickboxer 2: The Road Back
Kickboxer 3: The Art of War
Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor
Kickboxer 5: The Redemption
posted by djb at 5:36 PM on December 10, 2008

workerant - wow, I might rent Lost City of Gold just because James Earl Jones' character is named Umslopogaas.
posted by djb at 5:39 PM on December 10, 2008

Phantasm 1-4 are always good (re: awful and baffling)
Trancers 1-?? (I don't even know how many of these there are, but I'm pretty sure I've seen at least four.)
The Dollman movies seem to fit this bill pretty well, too.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 6:09 PM on December 10, 2008

(Actually, pretty much any series of films starring Tim Thomerson resides on Bad Movie Lane.)
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 6:14 PM on December 10, 2008

I know I already posted, but I forgot American Psycho 2: All American Girl, the direct-to-video pulled-from-someone's-ass sequel to American Psycho that has nothing to do with Patrick Bateman.

And since I'm posting again I might as well mention the anime films MD Geist, and M.D. Geist II: Death Force, which are both legendarily bad. They're cut from the same post-apocalyptic cloth as Fist of the North Star, only not as coherent and with less exploding heads if I remember correctly. The first one is B-movie bad, and the second one is dreadful.

Since you were asking about 80's barbarian movies, another franchise I've heard of but never seen is the Deathstalker series. After looking it up on wikipedia I kind of want to see it now, but it looks like it'd be hard to find.

You could go for a double shot of poorly adapted William Gibson with Johnny Mnemonic and New Rose Hotel. New Rose has Christopher Walken, Willem Dafoe, and Asia Argento all working together and it still manages to suck.
posted by CheshireCat at 7:14 PM on December 10, 2008

I think you could have a splendid film fest by watching Part III of all the above series.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:20 PM on December 10, 2008 [2 favorites]

Man, I can't believe that there are two AskMe questions in one day to which Rowdy Roddy Piper's Hell Comes to Frogtown is the answer. I haven't seen the next three, but if even if they fail to fall in quality they should be pretty damn bad.
posted by felix grundy at 7:48 PM on December 10, 2008

The Substitute series has always been a particular favorite of mine.
posted by fishmasta at 7:58 PM on December 10, 2008

Not a franchise but if you haven't watched Dreamcatcher yet, you're missing out. Pure bad genius.
posted by Manhasset at 8:23 PM on December 10, 2008

My man friend suggests:
Maniac Cop, apparently there's been 3.
Cube and Cube 2: Hypercube
posted by sararah at 8:44 PM on December 10, 2008

If you go in thinking it's going to be an action movie, The Big Hit, might meet your criteria.

The Big Hit is pretty much the best movie ever. The first time I saw it (it was playing on a overnight bus trip from Someplace Remote to Someplace Else Remote, Mexico) I thought it was one of those "so bad it's good movies." Then I rented it when we got home for my friends and realized, they did it that way on purpose. It's wickedly sly satire.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:56 PM on December 10, 2008

Hercules in New York

The Incredibly strange people who stopped living and became mixed-up zombies
posted by JimN2TAW at 10:24 PM on December 10, 2008

oh the shame! I've worked on a lot of the movies listed here.
any watching on the MVP series would be incomplete without Spymate. That's right, he'a a monkey...that's a spy.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 11:02 PM on December 10, 2008

Nthing Highlander. Last summer a friend snuck me and some other friends into a big lecture room at his school with a huge projector, and did a private showing of all four movies. It was hilarious. It is the perfect series for this. Unfortunately it's a little anticlimactic because the fourth film is the least bad, but there's a fifth one now, from the Sci-Fi channel, and is probably as low-rent as you'd expect, so that bodes well.
posted by abcde at 1:06 AM on December 11, 2008

Troll 2 is its own special brand of magic.

I've only ever seen the first Trancers movie, but I can only imagine that they get more wonderful as the series goes on. I also second the Slumber Party Massacre series. I could have sworn that Cybernator had sequels, but really you should just watch it over and over.
posted by quatsch at 6:47 AM on December 11, 2008

Spymate. That's right, he'a a monkey...that's a spy.

Oh wow. Count me in. My favorite sports-animal-comedy is probably Rhubarb. He's a cat....that owns a baseball team.
posted by mattbucher at 7:29 AM on December 11, 2008

Bad fantasy:
Krull! Bad makeup! Magic shuriken! Flaming Clydesdales!
Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure and its stellar sequel Ewoks: The Battle for Endor

Have you consider themed groupings instead of series? For instance

Post-apocalypse party. Obviously good pickings here (including the standout Costner oeuvre and Cyborg 1-3), but there are significant options often overlooked.
In Slipstream, everywhere is now the Turkish desert & hot air balloons and gliders rule the skies. Apparently it had a budget, but don't worry, it doesn't show. The occasional cameos from actors provide a nice counterpoint to the Bill Paxton-Mark Hamill interactions.
Zardoz. Wow, Zardoz.

Remember how in the 80s, rock & roll could save the world? Some high notes here are Howard the Duck and Masters of the Universe.
posted by fidelity at 9:20 AM on December 11, 2008

Someone mentioned it already, but the Beastmaster series most definitely fits the bill; and maybe you can find the TV show on DVD! (Yeah right.) As much as I love Conan the Barbarian, it and especially Conan the Destroyer are pretty bad. And for more Arnold swordplay, check out Red Sonja. It is quite hilariously awful. The sad part is, I loved that movie as a child. Also, when I did a search for that I would never in a million years have guessed that someone is making a new version. Truly, Hollywood is bereft of ideas.

Zardoz broke a part of my mind, and I want it back.
posted by dellsolace at 11:00 AM on December 11, 2008

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