Ah, the Razzies. The flip side of the famous Academy Awards, where John Wilson and his cohorts give annual awards to the WORST films of the year in a parody of Hollywood excess. The Golden Raspberry Awards have been around since 1980, while their more famous cousins the Academy Awards go all the way back to 1928. In honor of this year’s Oscar/Razzie ceremonies, I thought: why not brainstorm on what films WOULD have won Razzies, had the ceremonies existed as long as the Oscars?
Looking at some of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 targets, films cited in books like The Golden Turkey Awards and The 50 Worst Films of All Time, and the lowest rated stuff on Rotten Tomatoes and Internet Movie Database, I believe I’ve come up with a reasonable extrapolation of what kind of “Winners” they would have had from 1928-1979.
I’ve only cited the very ‘Worst’ movie of each year (no Worst Diector, Worst Actor, Worst Actress, Worst Screenplay, etc.), and provided a brief synopsis why each made the list. Agree or disagree? Sit back, and enjoy this year’s Retroactive Razzies
1928 ATROCIOUS PICTURE
1928 FAILED & POINTLESS PICTURE
The Godless Girl [Soviet version] (1928)
The 1st Academy Awards actually included TWO Best Picture winners (Wings won “Most Outstanding Picture” whereas Sunrise won “Most Unique and Artistic Picture), so here is the flip side to that: An over bloated “epic” silent movie and a “Christian” themed film that Soviet censors completely ruined by cutting out the ending where the atheist character finds Jesus.
1929 WORST PICTURE
The only time the “Best Picture” winner ALSO deserved Worst Picture, this film only won the Oscar because of the novelty of being an early sound movie that was one of the first films to have song and dance numbers. On its own merits, it’s terrible.
1930 WORST PICTURE
An offensive movie where Al Jolson dons blackface to portray a stereotypical big black woman.
1931 WORST PICTURE
1932 WORST PICTURE
The second of three terrible “Broadway” themed movies that should have won a Razzie.
1933 WORST PICTURE
Tacky, sexist movie that got awful reviews even when it was released back in 1993.
1934 WORST PICTURE
Also known as Sex Maniac, this is a trashy exploitation movie that frequently ends up on “Worst Movie Ever” lists.
1935 WORST PICTURE
This is a film about a half Mexican, half Irish gunman called The Irish Gringo who find a girl in the dessert. Its been described as “one of the best bad movies ever made”
1936 WORST PICTURE
Probably the best known of the bad 30s films, this is a “cautionary tale” about smoking weed where all the characters go insane from using marijuana.
1937 WORST PICTURE
The biggest flop of the decade, this was a widely ridiculed 30s failure that is considered Clark Gable’s worst film.
1938 WORST PICTURE
All an midget cast stars in this pathetic excuse for a western.
1939 WORST PICTURE
(tie) Torture Ship AND Daughter of the Tong
Two terrible movies, hard to decide whether the one about the “mad scientist” performing experiments on criminals on a ship is worse, or the one with the white actress playing the leader of an Oriental crime ring.
1940 WORST PICTURE
Two more awful movies, another painfully bad “broadway” themed movie and a low budget Boris Karloff movie about a “mad gorilla”
1941 WORST PICTURE
The title alone should tell you that this film is garbage.
1942 WORST PICTURE
One of the more famous MST3K episodes, and the beginning of Bela Lugosi tarnishing his once great career.
1943 WORST PICTURE
This cruddy attempt at a horror movie was shot in six days.
1944 WORST PICTURE
More famous MST3K fodder, this one deals with juvenile delinquency.
1945 WORST PICTURE
This film actually GOOD reviews when it was released, but it’s a bottom barrel budget movie filled with filled with technical errors and ham-handed narrative.
1946 WORST PICTURE
Rondo Hatton, a guy with a real life facial deformity, plays a monstrous killer. That ain’t makeup!
1947 WORST PICTURE
Really schlocky 40s film with “Amazonian women” in deepest Africa, who are oddly played by white women.
1948 WORST PICTURE
Considered one of the worst films of the 40s, this wannabe gangster movie had unusually high levels of violence and sexuality, done in a tacky manner.
1949 WORST PICTURE
Another film with a title that screams bad movie. It is about the curses that befall a ship following the removal of pearls from an island shrine.
1950 WORST PICTURE
1951 WORST PICTURE
A film that wanted to be like King Kong and The Lost World, but lacked the budget and technical experience to get anywhere close to that.
1952 WORST PICTURE
Sequel to The Paleface, this film was actually pretty popular at the time, but it’s awful dreck.
1953 WORST PICTURE
Has a reputation as the one of the worst movies ever, supposedly the costumes of gorilla bodies with diver’s helmets were so bad that the producer of this film tried to commit suicide on opening night.
1954 WORST PICTURE
I didn’t give Child Bride the Worst Picture award of 1937, and Ed Wood’s 1953 debut film Glen or Glenda didn’t make the cut either, so this film was overdue for one.
1955 WORST PICTURE
Another infamously bad Ed Wood movie, so if the Razzies existed in the 50s, he could have won Worst Picture and Worst Director in back-to-back years.
1956 WORST PICTURE
John Wayne as Genghis Khan. At the very least, Worst Actor was a lock.
1957 WORST PICTURE
(tie) The Unearthly AND The Beginning of the End
Two really poorly made 1950s “atomic apocalypse” themed films, hard to say which is worse.
1958 WORST PICTURE
The worst of the 1950s “I was a Teenage _____” genre of movies.
1959 WORST PICTURE
Supposedly the worst movie ever made. Some claim Manos: The Hands of Fate is even worse, but I haven’t seen the latter.
1960 WORST PICTURE
Another Ed Wood, this marked the start of his transition from sci-fi horror movies to soft core porn movies.
1961 WORST PICTURE
A really terrible film that has become a cult classic and is famous for how much bad stuff they jammed into a movie with a running time of under an hour.
1962 WORST PICTURE
Eegah, it sucks! Another brainless and completely historically inaccurate “caveman” themed movie.
1963 WORST PICTURE
This is actually TWO bad movies with unrelated plots, which they attempted to edit together into one piece of crap movie.
1964 WORST PICTURE
The first attempt to combine the monster movie and musical genres. A second attempt was made a few months later.
1965 WORST PICTURE
A poorly made film that was purchased and had new scenes and dialogue added, which rendered it an incoherent mess.
1966 WORST PICTURE
The first and only movie made by Harold P. Warren, it is considered the poorest attempt ever at making a professional movie.
1967 WORST PICTURE
Unlike many on the list, this is a high budget Hollywood movie that attempted to spoof James Bond. In one part, Orson Welles and Peter Sellers refused to film their poker game together, so they had to be edited together to make it look like they were in the same scene.
1968 WORST PICTURE
Apparently a pathetic attempt as a romance movie from French & Italian filmmakers trying to film scenes in English.
1969 WORST PICTURE
Elvis Presley stars is this wanna be Sister Act type movie.
1970 WORST PICTURE
Movie about a gay man (Rex Reed) who has a sex change operation and becomes “Myra Breckinridge” (Raquel Welch). It was so bad that the author of the book it was based on (Gore Videl) sued and demanded they take his name off the credits.
1971 WORST PICTURE
More MST3K material, a shoddily mad low budget horror movie about a NAZI scientist that injects himself with “Zaat” and mutates into an evil creature.
1972 WORST PICTURE
This obscure dated movie was believed to be lost for many years, but has recently been rediscovered and restored to all its cinematic glory.
1973 WORST PICTURE
A really bad pornographic spoof of Batman, which is considered one of the worst and least exotic porn films ever made.
1974 WORST PICTURE
Sean Connery’s costume alone deserves to give this film the Worst Picture win.
1975 WORST PICTURE
A belated 1970s attempt to recapture the magic of 1930s movie musicals like Swing Time and Top Hat.
1976 WORST PICTURE
The worst of the “Bruceplotation” movies attempting to cash in on Bruce Lee’s death with look-alike actors continuing his roles. This one has Bruce literally coming back from the dead to kick butt.
1977 WORST PICTURE
Considered one of the worst sequels ever. Given that the original film is one of the greatest horror films of all time, this incoherent sequel certainly deserves a Razzie. Terrible acting from Richard Burton.
1978 WORST PICTURE
An attempt to make a disaster film with the premise of killer bees. The only thing disasterous about this is how badly it bombed at the box office.
1979 WORST PICTURE
The 1970s equivalent to Showgirls, this crass softcore exotica movie has no plot. Supposedly inspired the Hooters waitress uniform.
And there you have it, from the silent era to the disco era, my picks for Retroactive Razzie winners. In 1980, Can’t Stop the Music (starring The Village People) would be named Worst Picture at the first annual Golden Raspberry awards, and usher in a new era.