Top 10 Worst Movies of the 1980s

Script written by Telly Vlachakis Some films are so bad they’re good and others are so bad they're hilarious… but sometimes, they're just plain bad. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Worst Movies of the 1980s. For this list, although we can all agree that there are different levels of "bad," we will be looking at North-American big-budget studio productions. Special thanks to our users jwiking62 for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Telly Vlachakis

Top 10 Worst Movies of the 1980s


Some films are so bad they’re good and others are so bad they’re hilarious… but sometimes, they’re just plain bad. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 worst movies of the 1980s.

For this list, although we can all agree that there are different levels of “bad,” we will be looking at North-American big-budget studio productions. We’ll be basing our choices on a mix of critical and commercial success (or rather, a lack thereof), the quality of the films in terms of story, effects, acting and so on, as well as how they are generally perceived these days. This is part of a series of videos spanning the decades.

#10: “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” (1989)

It was no surprise that William Shatner wanted to direct the next “Star Trek” movie, since his co-star Leonard Nimoy had directed the previous two successful entries. Throughout the production, Shatner’s ego would not let him give up, even if the film was plagued with problems. Creator Gene Roddenberry didn’t like the script, co-stars opposed the premise, and the film went through multiple rewrites and cuts, including a complete revamp of the ending after horrible test screenings. With sub-par effects, a bizarre story about searching for God in space, and Razzie awards for Worst Picture, Director, and Actor, it’s easy to see why this entry almost killed the franchise.

#9: “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace” (1987)

Here’s another successful franchise that lost its way; once the “Superman” film rights were passed on to the notoriously low-budget Cannon Films, everyone screamed in unison, “what were they thinking!?” The resultant disasterpiece actually killed this franchise, as the world waited almost 20 years for a reboot. Critics agreed that the film was beyond boring, the effects were cheap looking, and all the actors seemed like they wished they were somewhere else. Christopher Reeve famously predicted to Jon Cryer that the movie was going to be terrible, and lo and behold, Superman himself was right. You didn’t need superpowers to figure that out though.

#8: “Howling II: Your Sister Is a Werewolf” (1985)

Unlike our previous two entries, horror film franchises will not necessarily die out no matter how bad a sequel is. The follow-up to the now-cult-classic “The Howling” was such a mismatched disaster that audiences and critics were not sure if the studio was playing a joke on them. Barely following the original, the film’s only saving grace was horror legend Christopher Lee’s inclusion, although he later apologized to Joe Dante, the original film’s director, for appearing in this terrible sequel. Despite all this, and having originally been subtitled “Werewolf Bitch”, the horror flick spawned 6 more sequels.

#7: “Going Overboard” (1989)

Say what you want about Adam Sandler, but he had some great successes early in his career. This is why the world has chosen to forget his film debut, “Going Overboard.” In this comedy, Sandler plays a crappy struggling comedian on a cruise ship that gets a chance to perform and succeeds after learning about the power of laughter. Then terrorists climb onto the ship to kill Miss Australia, and Sandler’s Shecky saves the day by offering to put them in a movie. This is the actual plot of this film; we are not making this up. So you can understand why it has thankfully fallen into obscurity.

#6: “Howard the Duck” (1986)

When the world heard that George Lucas was finally bringing Marvel Comics to the big screen, we’re sure that nobody expected the character he’d be adapting would be “Howard the Duck.” The end result barely resembled the comics, and was such a mess that all the actors had a hard time finding work after this film. Willard Huyck never directed again, and well…we all know what happened to George Lucas after this. Creepy inter-species sex, duck nudity, and cheesy duck puns create an underwhelming experience that not even future Oscar-winner Tim Robbins could save, despite the sci-fi comedy flick’s now-cult status. Hopefully the MCU can do this character justice someday.

#5: “MAC and Me” (1988)

We don’t think anyone expected this feature length McDonald’s commercial disguised as an “E.T.” knock-off to be a masterpiece. But did it have to be so criminally mind numbing? It was supposedly aimed at children, but it insulted even their intelligence. The only difference between “Mac and Me” and Spielberg’s classic is that the main character is in a wheelchair, and everyone is brought together at the end by the power of McDonald’s hamburgers…oh and Coca-Cola too. The sci-fi adventure movie was rightfully a box-office disaster, and its planned sequel was thankfully immediately cancelled. At least it’s given Paul Rudd and Conan O'Brien something to joke about.

#4: “Leonard Part 6” (1987)

No, this is not the sixth entry in a franchise, and yes, the entire world was confused by the title. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg of reasons why nobody went to see this comedy. Although denounced by Bill Cosby himself, who practically begged audiences not to see it, the spy-movie parody was actually produced by and starred the comedian. In the comedy, Cosby is supposed to be a James Bond-type of operative, trying to save the world from evil vegetarians by using meat as a weapon. It more than deserved its trio of Razzie awards for Worst Actor, Screenplay, and Picture, and was, for a time, considered to be the worst thing that Bill Cosby ever did.

#3: “The Garbage Pail Kids Movie” (1987)

We still live in a Hollywood that can turn any product into a film, and while sometimes it works, such as with “The Lego Movie,” sometimes it doesn’t. “Battleship,” anyone? And sometimes, you just try to imagine what the pitch meeting for some ideas looked like and if everyone was either asleep or drunk when they green lit certain things. The Garbage Pail Kids were a brilliant and popular trading card series parodying Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, but its film adaptation turned them into nightmare creatures. With terrible effects that make them unwatchable and gross-out humor that won’t even make children laugh, this film’s cult status is hard to swallow.

#2: “King Kong Lives” [aka “King Kong: Part II”] (1986)

While the 1976 remake was a box office success, this “sequel” falls short on every level. How can a “King Kong” movie be so boring? The plot revolves around the scientists that have been keeping Kong alive while he’s in a coma after the monster fell off the Twin Towers. They give him an artificial heart, and find a female Kong to give him a blood transfusion to save his life. Though it’s not meant to be a comedy, “King Kong Lives” is laughable for all the wrong reasons. The 1933 original had better special effects than this!

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable, or in this case dishonorable, mentions:
“Maximum Overdrive” (1986)
“Grease 2” (1982)
“Teen Wolf Too” (1987)
“Tarzan, the Ape Man” (1981)

#1: “Jaws: The Revenge” (1987)

In a world with Sharknadoes and mutant piranhas, this movie is somehow the most laughable underwater monster movie – well, at least it was in the ‘80s. Another franchise shot dead in the water, this fourth “Jaws” film asks the question that was on everybody’s minds: what if sharks can hold grudges and somehow stalk a family across a country? This boring sequel expects us to believe that this shark wants revenge on the Brody family for killing the original Jaws, and swims from New York to the Bahamas, looking boring and mechanical the whole way. And to think… Michael Caine missed out on accepting his Oscar for “Hannah and Her Sisters” in order to shoot this disaster.

Do you agree with our list? What do you think is the worst movie of the 1980s? For more entertaining top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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