Weirder = better
July 11, 2013 5:44 PM   Subscribe

After watching Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, I'm suddenly dying to watch old, cheesy, crazy-ass sci-fi movies. Can you recommend the good ones to me?

I've seen a ton of old MST3K episodes, but it's been a while (first-run), and that's pretty much the sum total of my exposure to this genre. I could use some guidance, please & thanks.
posted by heyho to Media & Arts (38 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
If you like MST3K you might also be the sort of person who liked Monstervision, which ran on TNT for a long time in the 90's. In addition to hosting the show Joe Bob Briggs has published a lot of reviews of bad b-movies and forgotten drive in classics, which you can find by poking around his website ( That site isn't super easy to navigate, though, and honestly I'd recommend getting one of his collections of reviews since they aren't too expensive on Amazon, and they'll open your eyes to some weird stuff.
posted by Kiablokirk at 5:57 PM on July 11, 2013

"Forbidden Planet" (with Leslie Nielson), and "The Day The Earth Stood Still", are my favorites :)
posted by readygo at 5:57 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Well, obviously Deep Space 9 if you haven't seen it. The Blob is great, as is Them. If your tastes run to wacky political countries-as-superheroes parables I would also recommend Mr. Freedom.

If you're also interested in films that take stylistic cues from that stuff but are self-conscious about their weirdness you should watch Buckaroo Bonzai, Forbidden Zone and The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra.
posted by contraption at 6:01 PM on July 11, 2013

The original King Kong is still remembered today for good reasons. Another favourite of mine is Them, actually a pretty good movie that wouldn't feel out of place today except for the terrible 50's giant ant puppets.
posted by AndrewStephens at 6:03 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Any movie they mention in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:05 PM on July 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yes, yes, giant animals would be excellent! I should have included that. I recall loving an old MST3K with giant bunnies, then noticing clips of it in Natural Born Killers. Good call.
posted by heyho at 6:08 PM on July 11, 2013

Seconding "Forbidden Planet". It's one of the best Star Trek movies ever made. (Seriously. Just watch it)

It's not old, but the 1980s Flash Gordon movie is definitely cheesy and crazy, and if it's too new there's always the original serials.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:11 PM on July 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

I think contraption means Plan 9 From Outer Space.
Another Ed Wood sci-fi classic is Bride of the Monster.

A few more:
Zontar, The Thing From Venus
Horror of Party Beach
Attack of the Crab Monsters
The Fly (the 1958 original)
I Married a Monster from Outer Space
Invaders from Mars (1953 original)
posted by plastic_animals at 6:22 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Teenagers from Outer Space scared me to death as a kid. MST3K version exists.
posted by The Deej at 6:24 PM on July 11, 2013

Day of the Triffids
posted by Max Power at 6:29 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

If TV series are not ruled out, you might like to check out the original Twilight Zone.
posted by shortyJBot at 6:30 PM on July 11, 2013

It's fantasy rather than SF, but The Raven is my favorite camp film. Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, and Vincent Price all hamming it up, plus Jack Nicholson with a full head of hair, before he got full of himself. One of Roger Corman's very best films!
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:36 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Cat from Outer Space is hilariously awesome.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 6:37 PM on July 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

Does Ice Pirates count? You can play a drinking game called Improbable Science which makes it more entertaining. I'll let you figure out the rules....
posted by sio42 at 6:41 PM on July 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

eep, yes thanks plastic_animals I meant Plan 9. I was on my phone on a bus and I guess I must have Larp Trek on the brain.
posted by contraption at 6:50 PM on July 11, 2013

The Blob (the version with Steve McQueen)
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman
Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954 version) - horror but kind of fits what you are asking about
Crack in the World
Village of the Damned
The Day the Earth Stood Still (original 1951 version)
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms
It Came From Beneath the Sea
20 Million Miles to Earth
Robot Monster
The Giant Claw
Killers from Space
The Incredible Shrinking Man
It! The Terror From Beyond Space

For giant bunnies try Night of the Lepus

Then there are the Japanese Kaiju films, like Godzilla, Mothra, Gamera, etc.. There's a fairly good list of them on the Wikipedia page on Kaiju.

(Clearly I watched way too much tv as a kid.)
posted by gudrun at 7:20 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Zardoz -- Sean Connery running around in a red diaper is pretty darn cheesy!

These 2 are not so much cheesy, but just great movies:

The Man Who Fell To Earth
The Brother From Another Planet
posted by I'm Brian and so's my wife! at 7:29 PM on July 11, 2013

The Amazing Colossal Man (1957)
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
Black Scorpion (1957)
Deadly Mantis (1957)
Dinosaurus! (1960)
Earth vs. the Spider (1958)
The Giant Behemoth (1959)
It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955)
Kronos (1957)
Reptilicus! (1961)
Tarantula (1955)
Target Earth (1954)
20 Million Miles to Earth (1957)
The Valley of the Gwangi (1969)
War of the Colossal Beast (1958)
posted by plokent at 7:34 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

You can't beat "Swamp Thing" for cheesiness. I figure the special effects budget was about 9 bucks.
posted by RRgal at 7:37 PM on July 11, 2013

Food of the Gods
posted by estherbester at 8:05 PM on July 11, 2013

My favorite is Star Crash, with David Hasselhoff.
Matango, Fungus of Terror isn't really 'cheesy', but it is low budget.
The original Thing from Another World isn't really cheesy, but you'd probably consider the monster to be cheesy.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:05 PM on July 11, 2013

Can't believe no one has mentioned The Brain from Planet Arous yet. And I'll especially endorse Them! and 20 Million Miles to Earth out of the many other fine suggestions already mentioned.
posted by RogerB at 8:42 PM on July 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

Robinson Crusoe on Mars!
posted by moonmilk at 10:03 PM on July 11, 2013

X: The Man With the X-Ray Eyes
posted by brundlefly at 12:14 AM on July 12, 2013

I recommend "Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster" (it's my personal favorite) or Ed Wood's "Plan Nine from Outer Space" or any of his other movies really. You can't go wrong with Ed Wood's original stuff.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 1:17 AM on July 12, 2013

Try The Hidden, a forgotten gem from the eighties in this genre. You, the Tube has it online!
posted by ouke at 3:46 AM on July 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

oh I see it was already tossed out there. How 'bout Frankenstein Conquers the World (trailer), then?
posted by item at 5:26 AM on July 12, 2013

Any movie they mention in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Any -- every! -- movie they mention in the opening song to The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Which means seconding all of the above, and also 1951's When Worlds Collide (Boom!). Also, don't forget the 1953 War of the Worlds.

If you're including kaiju films, The X From Outer Space is wonderfully bizarre.

And though it isn't precisely the right genre (or precisely any genre), all this stuff might put you in the right mood to watch Repo Man.
posted by Gelatin at 6:17 AM on July 12, 2013

I recall loving an old MST3K with giant bunnies

I think that's probably Night Of The Lepus.
posted by hippybear at 6:22 AM on July 12, 2013

Also, "Wasp Woman" and "Attack of the Giant Leeches", both from around 1960. So cheesy, campy, and low-budget they're hilarious.
posted by RRgal at 6:38 AM on July 12, 2013

These are maybe more on the mad scientist end of sci-fi rather than wacky space adventures, but I thoroughly recommend The Devil Doll and Mad Love.
posted by darchildre at 9:49 AM on July 12, 2013

This doesn't have any giant monsters, but They Saved Hitler's Brain was pretty awful and awesome at the same time.
posted by chainsofreedom at 1:46 PM on July 12, 2013

The Crawling Eye -- "It's Looking For You!"
posted by lathrop at 1:47 PM on July 12, 2013

Creation of the Humanoids is one of these types of movies. I read about it in one of those Creature Feature guidebooks and did not remember seeing it as a kid, so I got it from Netflix. Although you will probably figure out the ending before it gets there, I think it holds up pretty well considering its age.
posted by wittgenstein at 8:37 AM on July 13, 2013

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