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The Best So-Bad-Its-Good Movie Directors

By Dustin Rowles & TK | Lists | March 10, 2011 |

By Dustin Rowles & TK | Lists | March 10, 2011 |

Statistically speaking, it’s far more difficult to make a successful good bad movie than it is to make a conventionally good movie. Landing one is usually a matter of luck — sometimes, it’s intentional, and other times, it’s the confluence of so many things going wrong that the film turns the corner into sublime.

But how do you select a good bad-film director? Do you seek out incompetence? Or do you try to find someone with a track record for good bad films and hope that they can do it again, either intentionally or not. Can that director mix the proper ingredients of good, bad, and dumb together to come up with the perfect balance of awesolegendtardary?

Our suggestion? Hire one of these guys. Whether they mean to do it or not, the proof is in the awesome terribleness. Or the terrible awesomeness.

Patrick Lussier: There’s no telling whether Patrick Lussier true intent is to make a seriously fun bad film or a bad film that just ends up being fun. He’s three for three, though, with My Bloody Valentine 3D, Drive Angry 3D and Dracula 2000. I’m fairly certain that Dracula 2000 was unintentional, but when you combine maybe the worst Dracula in the history of film, Gerard Butler, with Christopher Plummer’s Van Helsing, the hilariously bad Jonny Lee Miller, and the unfortunately miscast Omar Epps and Danny Masterson along with the idea setting him in the computer age, what you get is Dracula 2000, a film that actually gets better-worse as it ages and the technology of 11 years ago grows more and more dated. My Bloody Valentine 3D, meanwhile, was the perfect bad movie, one that disguised its intentions so well that it was hard to tell if Lussier was just bad or really good at being bad. — DR

Neveldine & Taylor: I don’t know about the intentions of these guys. They perfected the art with Crank and Crank 2; it was like they were playing a game of “Let’s see how preposterous we can make this and still get away with it” and they completely succeeded in both efforts. I haven’t seen Gamer, but Steven’s review hinted toward it’s good-bad possibilities, as he wrote: “It’s a film actually made worse by how good it is.” This paragraph sold me on seeking it out, however:

Michael C. Hall revels in the role of Ken Castle, playing a cross between Dexter, Bill Gates, and the dancing demon from the Buffy musical. Seriously. He is so nucking futs that he uses his mind control technology to do a choreographed song and dance of Sinatra’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” with a dozen death row inmates.

But of course, they’re also responsible for writing Jonah Hex, a movie plagued by problems, namely the studio’s insistence upon changing much of the script, and given how bad it ended up, one wonders whether the studio and the director excised it’s good-bad qualities and left only the bad-bad ones, as accounts suggest that the original vision for the film hit the outlandish good-bad mark. — DR

Don Coscarelli: Now here’s a pickle: Coscarelli has one legitimately, unironically awesome movie on his resume: Bubba Ho-Tep. But once you delve beyond those, that’s when the so-bad-it’s-good glory begins. Because Coscarelli wrote and directed the fucking gold standard, the pinnacle, the goddamn cheese apex… The Beastmaster. Screw Dustin and his incendiary lists. But that’s not all. Coscarellyi also directed a classic of the past generation of horror — Phantasm, which made tall, pale white dudes creep me the fuck out for the rest of my life. — TK

Renny Harlin: Harlin is an absolute crap director, with a resume that’s got more shit on it than a fecophile’s buffet plate. But he’s also got a glorious mix of sublimely fun stuff — The Long Kiss Goodnight, Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger, and of course, Deep Blue Sea. Now, we can debate whether or not The Long Kiss Goodnight is bad, but the rest are pure garbage. Pure, wonderful trash. Deep Blue Sea is of course a favorite of the site, and it fucking should be. Super intelligent sharks that can open doors and swim backwards and who hate video cameras. LL Cool J waxing philosophical. Stellan Skaaaarrrrsssgradeerad. Sharks throwing helicopters! A SHARK THROWS A HELICOPTER. Need I say more? Cliffhanger is classic smart-Stallone, meaning it’s Stallone trying to break out of his Rambo mode, and failing. Beautifully. And Die Hard 2 had William Sadler and John Amos, with bonus Sipowicz for good measure. — TK

Stephen Sommers & Rob Cohen: Alone, both of these directors sit firmly in the bad-bad category, but if you combine their filmographies and approach their movies with the right spirit, there’s certainly some good-bad magic available. They’re idiot cousins, and while we view most of their efforts as spectacular failures, once you recognize that, there is some awesome-terrible entertainment to be found in movies like The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, Deep Rising, Van Helsing, Sylvester Stallone’s awesomely shittacular Daylight, one of my favorite good-bad movies of all time, The Skulls, the homoerotic Fast and the Furious and, of course, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, a movie far more entertaining than it’s summer competitor, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, if only because it was so blow-your-brains-out dumb. —DR

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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