Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now

By Charles Apple
The Spokesman-Review

On this date 25 years ago, the feature film “Showgirls” was inflicted upon the American moviegoing audience. It was a truly wretched film containing a wretched plot and wretched performances all around. But was it the all-time worst film ever made? Perhaps. Perhaps not ...


THE BABE RUTH STORY
1948

(Credit: Allied Artists)

Stars: William Bendix, Claire Trevor and Charles Bickford

This attempt at a biopic goes off the rails with an overly sappy script, oversentimental acting and direction, and a star who clearly doesn’t know his way around a baseball bat.


PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE
1959

(Credit: Valiant Pictures)

Stars: Gregory Walcott, Bela Lugosi, Maila Nurmi, Tor Johnson, Lyle Talbot and directed by Ed Wood

Aliens plot to raise the dead on Earth. Perhaps they might have tried to raise Wood’s infamously poor production values instead.


SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS
1964

(Credit: Embassy Pictures)

Stars: John Call, Leonard Hicks, Vincent Beck and Bill McCutcheon

Martians kidnap Santa so someone can bring toys to their kids at Christmas. The low budget and poor acting make this comedy funnier than it ought to be.


THEY SAVED HITLER’S BRAIN
1968

(Credit: Paragon Films)

Stars: Walter Stocker, Audrey Caire, Carlos Rivas, John Holland and Bill Freed

This was a 1963 film that was rereleased in 1968 with additional footage ... shot by UCLA film students. Which tells you a little about the production values here.


MYRA BRECKINRIDGE
1970

(Credit: 20th Century Fox)

Stars: Raquel Welch, Rex Reed, Mae West and John Huston

This gender-bending story of sex change and Hollywood intrigue was based on a witty book by Gore Vidal. The movie took out Vidal’s social commentary and wit and kept the sex.


CALIGULA
1979

(Credit: Penthouse Films)

Stars: Malcolm McDowell, Teresa Ann Savoy, Helen Mirren, Peter O’Toole and John Gielgud

There is, perhaps, a time and a place for hard-core pornography. This dramatization of the perverted excesses of a perverse Roman Caesar was not that time.


HEAVEN’S GATE
1980

(Credit: United Artists)

Stars: Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, John Hurt, Sam Waterson and directed and written by Michael Cimino

Rich landowners in 1890s Wyoming resist an influx of immigrant farmers. Cimino actually bankrupted United Artists with his overspending.


TARZAN THE APE MAN
1981

(Credit: MGM Studios)

Stars: Bo Derek, Miles O’Keeffe and Richard Harris and directed by John Derek

Yet another remake of the Tarzan legend seemed to have one main purpose: To remove all Bo Derek’s clothes, in the wake of her sudden fame after her appearance in the 1979 comedy “10.”


STAYING ALIVE
1983

(Credit: Paramount Pictures)

Stars: John Travolta and Cynthia Rhodes and directed by Sylvester Stallone

Tony Manero from “Saturday Night Fever” moves his dancing skills from the disco to Broadway. Travolta struts and preens through the entire film. Perhaps audiences should have strutted instead.


HOWARD THE DUCK
1986

(Credit: LucasFilm Ltd.)

Stars: Lea Thompson, Jeffrey Jones and Tim Robbins

A talking duck from a duck planet is transported to Earth. George Lucas helped bring this picture to life, proving that just because you create “Star Wars” doesn’t mean you win every time.


ISHTAR
1987

(Credit: Columbia Pictures)

Stars: Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty — Beatty also produced the film.

Terrible lounge singers go on a tour of Morocco, where they find themselves in the middle of a CIA operation. The singers are indeed terrible. But not quite as terrible as the film.


JAWS: THE REVENGE
1987

(Credit: Universal Pictures)

Stars: Lorraine Gary, Michael Caine and Lance Guest

Sheriff Brody’s wife realizes a great white shark is out to kill her and her whole family. This was the fourth in the Jaws movie series, which really should have ended after the first one.


SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE
1987

(Credit: Warner Bros.)

Stars: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Mariel Hemingway, Jon Cryer, Mark Pillow

Lex Luthor creates a “nuclear man” who tries to destroy Superman. He fails, of course, but this movie was so bad it destroyed the Superman movie franchise.


SHOWGIRLS
1995

(Credit: MGM Studios)

Stars: Elizabeth Berkley, Gina Gershon, Kyle MacLachlan and Gina Ravera

A Vegas stripper longs to be a glamorous showgirl. This film was meant to be an erotic drama but the performances were so bad that it detracts viewers from both the drama and the eroticism.


BATMAN & ROBIN
1997

(Credit: Warner Bros.)

Stars: George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Uma Thurman and Alicia Silverstone

Batman, Robin and Batgirl take on Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy and evil costume designers who’ve added things like codpieces and nipples to their outfits.


BATTLEFIELD EARTH
2000

(Credit: Warner Bros.)

Stars: John Travolta, Barry Pepper and Forest Whitaker

Aliens have enslaved mankind but humans organize a rebellion. You know who should have organized a rebellion? The actors who somehow got talked into appearing in this debacle.


THE ADVENTURES OF PLUTO NASH
2002

(Credit: Castle Rock Entertainment)

Stars: Eddie Murphy, Randy Quaid, Rosario Dawson and Jay Mohr

A man who owns a nightclub on the moon struggles to keep it out of the hands of the mafia. This film reportedly lost $92.9 million worldwide.


GIGLI
2003

(Credit: Sony Pictures)

Stars: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez

The mob sends a woman to keep an eye on a newbie mobster out on his first assignment. Became the first film to win five Golden Raspberry Awards: Worst Picture, Worst Actor, Worst Actress, Worst Director and Worst Screenplay.


CATWOMAN
2004

(Credit: Warner Bros.)

Stars: Halle Berry, Benjamin Bratt and Sharon Stone

A meek woman mysteriously receives the reflexes and speed of a cat. While Berry is a talented actor, she sure didn’t show it in this film. Roger Ebert would complain the film was more about Berry’s costume.


CATS
2019

(Credit: Universal Pictures)

Stars: Francesca Hayward, Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson and James Corden

This remake of the famed 1981 stage musical was derailed by allowing visuals to overshadow the singing and the storyline. The overuse of computer-generated effects caused audiences to burst into laughter.

Sources: Internet Movie Database, Rotten Tomatoes, Razzies.com, Business Insider, Thrillist.com, Rifftrax.com, “Roger Ebert’s Movie Home Companion” by Roger Ebert, “Halliwell’s Filmgoer’s and Video Viewer’s Companion