Five cult films audiences hate to love

Sharknado fans rejoiced this week at the news that the Syfy channel is pressing ahead with a fifth instalment in the trashy disaster franchise.

Directed as ever by Anthony C Ferrante, Sharknado 5 will see returning stars Ian Ziering and Tara Reid travel to London to avert a global shark tornado.

Since it began in 2013, the TV movie series has been met with glee by viewers – and derision by critics.

Here are five critically-panned movies that audiences have grown to love.

1) The Room

Often cited as the worst movie ever made, Tommy Wiseau’s self-financed opus came and went in 2003 but has since developed an enthusiastic fan following.

Audiences at special screenings regularly congregate to yell abuse, recite lines from the script in unison and throw plastic spoons at the screen (don’t ask!)

Wiseau, who also appeared in the film, has taken this in good humour, appearing at screenings to take questions and even taking part in a live reading of his script.

He’s since reteamed with co-star Greg Sestero for a new film called Best F(r)iends, while James Franco has made a film about The Room’s production, entitled The Masterpiece.

Read more about The Room from BBC Culture.

2) Birdemic: Shock and Terror

Made for less than $ 10,000 (£8,000), this ultra low-budget attempt to replicate Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds on a shoestring had audiences flocking to revel in its awfulness.

James Nguyen’s film was particularly derided for its special effects, which consisted mainly of shoddy CGI eagles interacting unconvincingly with the film’s cast of unknowns.

US distribution company Severin Films saw potential in its ineptitude and took the film on a “Birdemic experience tour” that included a visit to London in 2010.

Not to be deterred, Nguyen released a sequel, Birdemic 2: The Resurrection, in 2013 and has plans to round out the franchise with Birdemic 3: Sea Eagle.

3) Showgirls

Riding high on the success of Basic Instinct, Dutch director Paul Verhoeven reteamed with writer Joe Eszterhas for this torrid tale about a Las Vegas dancer stripping her way to stardom.

Their labours were met with derision by the critics, who poured scorn on the script, Elizabeth Berkley’s lead performance and one particularly ill-judged swimming pool sex scene.

As is the way of these things, though, the film developed a cult following on home video and is now a staple on the midnight screening circuit.

Verhoeven, incidentally, is currently getting some of the best reviews of his career for Elle, a dark drama about rape that won two Golden Globes last month.

4) Howard the Duck

Just three years on from Return of the Jedi, George Lucas laid an almighty egg with this disastrous stab at bringing Marvel’s wise-quacking alien to the big screen.

Released as Howard: A New Breed of Hero in the UK, the film’s crimes against cinema include putting an actor with dwarfism in an inexpressive duck suit that reportedly cost $ 2m (£1.6m) to make.

Since its release in 1986, though, the film has come to be embraced both by lovers of bad movies and fans of the original comic book character.

Howard’s brief appearance at the end of 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, meanwhile, has prompted talk that a movie comeback may be on the cards.

5) Plan 9 from Outer Space

Edward Wood Jr’s status as the world’s worst director is largely down to a 1959 black-and-white creature feature that languished in late-night TV obscurity for 20 years.

But after film critic Michael Medved declared it the worst movie ever made in 1980, it found a new audience among those who saw a camp value in its cheap effects and cheesy sci-fi storyline.

Many were particularly impressed by Wood’s billing of Bela Lugosi as the film’s star, despite the fact that he barely appears and actually died three years before the film’s release.

The film and Wood himself were subsequently granted the ultimate accolade when Tim Burton made a film about the director’s life, starring Johnny Depp as Wood and Martin Landau as Lugosi.


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