With over 4 million articles, Wikipedia is an invaluable resource, whether you're throwing a term paper together at the last minute, or desperately looking for some hidden gem of information about Adrian Peterson's knee in advance of your fantasy league's draft. But follow enough links, and you get sucked into some seriously strange places. We explore some of Wikipedia's oddities in our 4,303,282-week series, Wiki Wormhole.
This Week’s Entry: List of Films Considered the Worst
What It’s About: A list of fifty-one of the worst movies ever made, starting with 1948’s “hilariously awful” gangster flick No Orchids For Miss Blandish, through the oeuvre of Ed Wood, ambitious flops like Heaven’s Gate and North, and infamous stinkers like Howard The Duck, Jaws: The Revenge, Battlefield Earth, and of course The Room, before winding up in the present day with Movie 43.
Strangest Fact: 1953’s Robot Monster features a monster with the unforgettable name “Ro-Man Extension XJ-2,” and appears to be a man in a gorilla suit with a diving helmet on. As prologue to the film, Ro-Man has killed every human on Earth (in your face, Roland Emmerich!), apart from eight survivors who have escaped to a space station. Ro-Man’s alien leader, “The Great Guidance,” eventually tries to kill the remaining humans by unleashing dinosaurs and an earthquake. While the film was shot in four days by 25-year-old first-time director Phil Tucker (who would go on to direct seven more films, five of them within two years of Monster), it boasted a score by Elmer Bernstein, the legendary film composer who went on to score The Magnificent Seven, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Escape, and Ghostbusters. (He also scored another film on the list, the Bill Cosby debacle Leonard Part 6)
Controversy:There’s a very heated debate on the "Talk" page over the inclusion of camp classic Mommie Dearest, which runs six times the length of the combined discussion of “other films for removal,” which mostly get a one-line argument.
Thing We Were Happiest To Learn: Sometimes awful movies can lead to great movies. 1986’s Troll was a forgettable enough horror movie that Italian director Claudio Fragasso (working under the name Drake Floyd) decided needed a sequel. The director and his wife wrote the script in English, despite not speaking the language. The movie not only has no returning characters from the original, it inexplicably doesn’t feature a single troll—the monsters are goblins this time around, played by actors wearing masks and burlap sacks. But the film’s lead, then-12-year-old Michael Stevenson, grew up and turned his experiences working on the film into the 2009 documentary Best Worst Movie, which manages a Rotten Tomatoes rating a full 95 points higher than Troll 2’s (in other words, its rating is 95%).
Thing We Were Unhappiest To Learn: Genghis Khan is one of history’s most fascinating figures, a child slave in an impoverished backwater who rose to command an empire twice the size of any the world has ever seen. But Hollywood has been permanently put off of telling Khan’s life story, ever since 1956’s infamous The Conqueror, starring famous Asian-American actors John Wayne and Susan Hayward in what was called “one of the worst casting decisions of all time.” The film was financed by Howard Hughes, who had previously found success bankrolling Hell’s Angels, Scarface (the one Howard Hawkes directed, not the one Pacino starred in), and The Outlaw. The movie bombed so badly that Hughes bought up every existing print and kept the film from being seen for nearly 20 years, and never produced another film. But the worst part of the film happened off-screen—it was filmed downwind of a nuclear testing range, and nearly half the film’s crew, including the Duke, Hayward, and director Dick Powell, would eventually be diagnosed with cancer.
Also noteworthy: Adam Sandler-in-drag vehicle Jack And Jill is the only movie to win a Razzie in every possible category, winning a record 10 Golden Raspberries. Shockingly, this is the only Sandler flick that appears on the list. For now.
Best link to elsewhere on Wikipedia: As a palate-cleanser, may we suggest this page’s opposite number, List of films considered the best, which includes a disclaimer that the critics’ polls cited should not “be viewed as scientific measures of the film-watching world.”