Underrated Unintentional Comedy Films

Underrated Unintentional Comedy Movies

Why I made the list: After recently seeing a couple of films that could be considered so bad they are good, I decided to compile a list of films that provide unintentional comedy gold.

To make the list, the films either had to either be unintentionally funny in at least a couple of scenes, or, ideally, the whole way through the runtime.

I’ve left off hilariously bad films that at least had the intention to be funny in some way, e.g. the ridiculous Gremlins knock-off Hobgoblins. I’ve also tried to limit entries to one per ‘genre’ (so the list isn’t filled with low-rent slasher flicks or Hallmark channel rom-coms). So, let’s dig in!

Haunt (2019)

You would somewhat expect a horror touted as ‘From the Writers of A Quiet Place‘ to have a certain degree of quality. I certainly did when sitting down to watch this film set in a haunted house attraction filled with real-life terrors.

But despite some impressive production values, Haunt is a fairly bog-standard slasher flick filled with dumb teenage characters who react to their predicament in ways that will truly have you screaming at the screen.

The attempts to make the villains, clad in vintage Halloween costumes, intimidating only fall flat. And the reveal of what’s under the masks comes off as over-the-top and ridiculous.

But what makes this a true so-bad-it’s-good gem is the howlingly terrible dialogue. The stand-out is a scene where one of the kids tries to rouse their bloodied, clearly dead friend from the floor by repeatedly asking ‘Are You OK?’, like something out of a Scary Movie flick.

The Hidden (1987)

Perhaps the only film on this list that functions as both a solid example of the genre it was aiming for (action/sci-fi) and as a campy comedy classic. I’ll admit that I only saw The Hidden recently and maybe wouldn’t consider it so much as the latter had I seen it as a more impressionable child.

However, viewed through today’s lens, this flick about a Body Snatchers-style alien going on an LA crime spree has plenty of dated 80s elements that give it a comedic twist.

There’s the dramatic synth music, the questionable fashion of the time, and the clear homoerotic tension between leads Kyle MacLachlan and Michael Nouri (watch director Jack Sholder’s Nightmare on Elm Street 2 if you don’t believe me!).

However, the true heights of campy delight come during the scenes featuring Claudia Christian’s possessed stripper character. My jaw was truly on the floor as I witnessed her grab a machine gun and, dressed in leopard print, blast her way out of a mannequin factory (?!).

The fact she then passes the possession on to a dog (which goes on to have its own very special, hilarious attack scene) is the icing on this campy cake.

Angel of Christmas (2015)

I first came across this Hallmark Channel rom-com about a magical, romance-enabling Christmas decoration when I saw a YouTube video wondering if it was actually a horror movie in disguise. It certainly has a few elements to inspire terror, but also many unintentional laughs.

The biggest source of comedy comes from the titular decoration itself, a horrifically large, ugly tree-topper that the main characters treat as quaint and mysterious. The main character insists on lugging it around in her purse, which gives it plenty of opportunities to magically interfere in her dating life.

Supposed to be cute, the angel comes across as a rather disturbing and borderline malevolent stalker, which makes the supposed romantic shenanigans going on around it quite harrowing. A perfect watch on a gloomy Christmas when you need some unintentional laughs!

Audacity (2015)

A fundamentalist Christian ‘drama’ about the perils of homosexuality, Audacity would be dangerous if it weren’t so incredibly inept.

The message of Audacity is essentially that Christians shouldn’t stay silent about their loved ones’ sinful lifestyles, lest they become complicit in sending them straight to hell.

It goes about communicating this through subtle metaphors such as a lesbian couple plummeting to their doom in an elevator shaft before the protagonist has the chance to convert them. And a woman who refuses to see that a seeming attacker is trying to rescue her due to her own willful ignorance.

Audacity is full of bad acting and equally bad dialogue, which ensures that the supposed ‘horror’ the filmmakers were going for comes across as comedic.

The best thing to come out of it is Caelan Conrad’s reaction video (definitely more entertaining than watching the actual film!).

The Happening (2008)

Everyone knows that M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening isn’t a great movie, but it surely deserves a reevaluation in terms of its unintentional comedy value.

A ridiculous premise played completely straight-faced, The Happening is the so-bad-it’s-good gift that keeps giving.

Shyamalan’s flick is full of the most intense tonal swings I’ve ever seen in a film (including the hilarious scene where a panicked John Leguizamo insists “Everything is going to be fine” before abruptly snarling “Don’t take my daughter’s hand!” at a well-meaning character).

And then there’s the completely nonsensical ending, where the protagonists have to fend off a crazy lady before everything just…stops.

From Mark Wahlberg trying to reason with a plastic plant (pictured above), to the most over-the-top suicide scenes you could ever think of (death by caged lion or by lawnmower, for example), the film is packed with unintentional laughs from start to finish.

Deliver Us from Evil (2014)

If your film is supposedly ‘inspired by actual accounts’ yet features outlandish elements like demonic possession, you’re probably gonna want to work overtime to make the events seem realistic.

The makers of Deliver Us From Evil missed this memo, as this supernatural thriller ramps up the clichés and camp to hilarious levels.

Leads Eric Bana (as a real-life cop who supposedly encountered many a supernatural event) and Edgar Ramirez (as a comically hard-living priest) certainly try to play the material as straight as possible.

But this only adds to the comedic effect, as they come up against a progression of increasingly outlandish demonic forces.

Also, this film LOVES animal-based jump scares. It’s not content to have the cliché black cat pouncing out of the shadows accompanied by a booming soundtrack (though it does have at least one). Instead, it gets owls, lions, and a whole menagerie of other zoo animals in on the action.

Still, the funniest and most random part of the film is the scene where a possessed soft toy terrorizes the protagonist’s daughter with cries of “Cack-a-roo!”. Comedy gold.

The Haunting (1999)

Shirley Jackson’s seminal novel The Haunting of Hill House has received 2 truly excellent screen adaptations in Robert Wise’s classic 1963 film (which is still spooky to this day) and, most recently, Mike Flanagan’s Netflix series.

However, the makers of this late 90s version didn’t have the same luck. Probably best remembered for the scene in which Owen Wilson has his head lopped off by an errant fireplace flue, the film is nevertheless well worth rewatching simply for the stunning production design and practical effects.

However, other elements don’t stand up to much scrutiny. Particularly the horrendous, overused CGI and the fact that director Jan De Bont (Twister, Speed) stages the film more as a bombastic action film than a ghost story.

And normally reliable stars such as Lili Taylor, Liam Neeson, and Catherine Zeta-Jones are left to alternately shriek and sleepwalk their way through thin roles and some truly terrible dialogue.

Saying that, though, The Haunting is full of unintentionally hilarious moments, such as the aforementioned surprise decapitation and the somewhat adorable ‘chocolate’ angels (above), that make it a ridiculously entertaining rewatch.

Left Behind (2014)

Everyone knows by now that the Nicholas Cage-led remake of The Wicker Man, featuring scenes of the actor punching out women and screaming about bees, is pure unintentional comedy gold. But this film is up there among the ‘so-bad-it’s-good Nic Cage classics’.

In theory a film about the Biblical rapture and the chaos it leaves behind in its wake, Left Behind takes a full 30 minutes of soapy melodrama and terrible dialogue to get to its main event. And it doesn’t get much better after the cataclysm occurs.

Most of the runtime is taken up by the low-stakes action of trying to land a plane in the aftermath. And the (awful, heavy-handed) drama between the stereotypical occupants of said aircraft, including Cage sleepwalking his way through his role as the pilot.

Meanwhile, on the ground, his teenage daughter scrambles her way through a series of ridiculous and ineptly staged set pieces, including the worst movie break-in scene of all time.

Somehow both underwhelming and completely over the top at the same time, Left Behind truly deserves some kind of unintentional comedy award.

What do you think of the list? Have I left out any of your unintentional comedy favorites? Let me know in the comments!

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