When one asks, "what's the worst movie ever made?" the stock answer is usually Edward D. Wood, Jr.'s Plan 9 From Outer Space, a "thriller" about aliens reanimating the dead (plans 1-8 have failed, you see). Plan 9 gained its notoriety as "the worst movie ever made" in the book, The Golden Turkey Awards, by Michael and Harry Medved. At the time the Medveds were writing and researching their book, they based their "awards" primarily from private viewings of several titles, since these were the days before VCRs became common in the household (late 70s/early 80s). They would set up special screenings at UCLA or with private collectors of titles long thought to be bad cinema, and gleefully tear the flicks apart. Ed Wood died in 1978, a broken and forgotten man at the age of 54. His "glory days" were long behind him. In fact, after Plan 9, he only made a couple more mainstream features, before being forced to support himself by making sleazy, ultra-amateurish skin flicks and penning an uncommenly large amount of cheap-o paperback exploitation novels. At the end of his life, he was hoping to make a comeback, with a script he had written based on his early career and his friendship with Bela Lugosi. The Medveds must have seen something in Plan 9 that made it stand out from the rest of the so-called bad movies they were screening, enough so that it merited the title Worst Film Ever Made...although it should be noted that the awful sequel to The Exorcist, Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977) was a runner-up for the title. As if this wasn't enough, the Medveds acquired prints of three Ed Wood films: Glen or Glenda (1953), Bride of the Monster (1955) and, of course Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959), and took them to various theatres, where they would introduce the films, and encourage audiences to snicker and guffaw at the amateurness of a poor filmmaker who had a passion for film, but never the budget. Nothing like kicking a man down, especially when the man had just died in near poverty. So is Plan 9 From Outer Space the worst movie ever made? In my opinion, no. At least Ed Wood's films are entertaining, something that can't be said about films that are much, much worse. As an author of a book on cult films recently said, "the film has become so famous for its own badness that it's now beyond criticism." BTW, the Medveds gave Worst Director to Ed Wood (natch), Worst Actress to Raquel Welch, and Worst Actor to Richard Burton, a man who was nominated 7 or 8 times for an Academy Award. Anyway, I did a little research (hey, it was a slow day today!), and came up with films that are considered among the worst ever made. Robot Monster (1953) - the "monster" of the title is a guy in a gorilla suit and diving helmet. Monster A Go-Go (1965) - started life as an incomplete film, was finished by "Godfather of Gore" Herschell Gordon Lewis. Final result: incomprehensible. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964) - aside from Pia Zadora in an early role, the film is probably most notable for its holiday tune, "Hooray for Santy Claus!" I guess the title explains it all. "Manos" The Hands of Fate (1966) - don't forget the quotation marks around "Manos" when writing about this film . Now THIS could quite possibly be the worst movie ever made. Basically a 90-minute backyard movie, backed by a man who worked in the fertilizer business. Guess that explains it all! Manos translates into "hands," so the title of the film is actually Hands: The Hands of Fate. Critics call it "unwatchable." Quentin Tarantino owns a 35mm copy, and it was merclessly torn apart on Mystery Science Theater 3000. The episode with this film is considered one of the series' all-time highs. The Conqueror (1956) - billionaire Howard Hughes thought it would be great to cast John Wayne as Genghis Kahn in this "epic" he produced. The film is actually notorious for giving cancer to many in the cast and crew. It was filmed in Utah, close to an atomic testing range in Nevada, and director Dick Powell, actors Agnes Moorehead, Pedro Armendariz and Susan Hayward all succumbed to cancer at relatively early ages. John Wayne lasted until 1979, when he died of cancer at age 72. True, he was a heavy smoker, and had a lung removed in the 1960s, but work on this film may have sped up his demise. Che! (1969) - biopic of Che Guevara, starring Omar Sharif! Also with Jack Palance as Fidel Castro. Battlefield Earth (2000) - Pulp Fiction gave John Travolta major clout in Hollywood again. After a few interesting "comeback" performances in Get Shorty, White Man's Burden, Face/Off and Primary Colors, Scientologist Travolta took it upon himself to helm L. Ron Hubbard's massive tome. One critic called it a "crime against celluloid." Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002) - had the distinction of rating a perfect 0% at Rotten Tomatoes. Maybe a better title would have helped? Lame action flick with Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu. Gigli (2003) - why beat a dead horse? From Justin to Kelly (2003) - hey kids! It's Justin Guarini and Kelly Clarkson from American Idol in a lame musical comedy! Leonard Part 6 (1987) - I actually remember critics shredding this Bill Cosby spy comedy, made at the height of the Cos's popular reign on The Cosby Show. How bad was it? Cosby went on several talk shows and panned the movie himself, telling the public not to waste their money on it! Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992) - everyone knows Sylvester Stallone + Estelle Getty = comic gold. Showgirls (1995) - again, why beat a dead horse? Jaws: The Revenge (1987) - Michael Caine, in a memorable career high, as "Hoagie," who battles the great white. Interestingly the night Caine won Best Actor at the Academy Awards for his role in Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters, the actor couldn't attend the ceremony and pick up his award in person, because he was off filming this mess. Howard the Duck (1986) - if you don't stop beating that horse, there's gonna be nothing left! Catwoman (2004) - um...this is Catwoman, right? The Batman comics Catwoman? Not in this film. The character is called Catwoman, but shares nothing with her literary counterpart. Stayling Alive (1983) - a horrid sequel to the great Saturday Night Fever (1977), starring John Travolta in the role that made him a star (and in this film, sent his career spiralling downward until Pulp Fiction), directed by Sylvester Stallone. At Long Last Love (1975) - by this time in his career, filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich had a string of hits (Targets, The Last Picture Show, What's Up Doc? Paper Moon). A lover of the golden age of Hollywood, Bogdanovich decided to try his hand at a sophisticated musical screwball comedy with songs by Cole Porter. Instead of Fred and Ginger, he hired that other legendary song-and-dance team, Burt Reynolds and Cybill Shepherd to warble and hoof their way through the material. The Terror of Tiny Town (1938) - back in the 1930s, a producer thought it would be "cute" to make a Western with an all-midget cast. And as for Ed Wood? I guess he had the last laugh. In the years since his death, he has been the subject of books, fan conventions and a major motion picture based on his early life, directed by Tim Burton. His films have received deluxe DVD editions with copious extras, and Plan 9 has even been turned into a stage musical.