It’s often said that Hollywood is far too derivative, with just about every movie that comes out being based on an established property and with all the plots being fairly safe. But throughout film history, there have been plenty of movies with premises so absolutely insane and unique that it’s difficult to believe they really exist. You just need to know where to look for them.
Beyond just the worst movies ever made, these are the crazy films that we promise you are genuinely real — including one that just came out in 2017.
1. Death Bed: The Bed That Eats
There is perhaps no greater example of a movie title that tells you absolutely everything you need to know. This 1977 horror film is exactly what it sounds like: in it, a demon-possessed bed consumes anyone who dares use it.
The end product is even more insane than it sounds, though. It’s not as if this is just a random monster bed. Director George Barry provides the death bed with a whole complicated backstory involving a demon who fell in love with a woman, but when she died, he cried tears of blood that brought a bed to life. The bed is only alive when the demon is, i.e. once every 10 years. The bed doesn’t just eat, though; it also has the power of telekinesis. That’s not all; in the same room as the bed is a man who is trapped in a painting. Sure, why not?
Death Bed only really gained any attention when it was released on DVD in 2004; it was popularized by comedian Patton Oswalt. The entire film is currently available to watch on YouTube. If you choose to do so, you might find that despite the goofy premise, the movie is actually a lot better than you’d expect.
Next: This is the sequel to Titanic that nobody ever asked for.
2. Titanic II
There are plenty of classic movies that deserve sequels, but Titanic is not one of them. Still, that didn’t stop The Asylum from creating Titanic II, a straight-to-DVD movie released in 2010.
Well, actually, the movie is not really a sequel to the James Cameron film as you might hope. Instead, it takes place in 2012, 100 years after the sinking of the Titanic, when the SS Titanic II sets off on a voyage. It takes the exact same route as the original Titanic but in reverse. This time, a tsunami actually causes an iceberg to go flying right into the ship and sink it.
It’s as terrible as you would expect, although most of the humor just comes from the fact that there exists a movie called Titanic II. Like a lot of films by The Asylum — including Nazis at the Center of the Earth and Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies — laughing at the idea of the movie is a far more entertaining experience than sitting down and watching it.
Next: A movie about a tire that goes around killing people with telekinesis
We’ve seen horror movies about killer trees, killer sheep, and even killer human waste. So why not a movie about an evil, killer tire? That’s the plot of Rubber: a tire goes around killing people. How does it do so, you might ask? Well, it has telekinetic powers, obviously.
You might expect this to be a terrible B-movie that would air on the SyFy channel. But actually, Rubber takes itself fairly seriously, and the whole thing is closer to a pretentious art film than a schlocky horror film. Case in point: it opens with a character delivering a monologue directly to the camera about things happening in movies for no reason. Later, characters watch the tire from far away with binoculars, and they’re meant to represent the audience.
The only thing more preposterous than making a movie about a killer tire is making a pretentious movie about a killer tire.
Next: Probably the most insane thing that Denise Richards has ever done
4. Tammy and the T-Rex
In this 1994 film, a high school girl’s boyfriend is targeted by a gang. One day, the gang throws the boyfriend to a pack of lions at the zoo, at which point he is viciously mauled. After being rushed to the hospital, the boyfriend is declared dead. Sounds like a pretty serious drama, right? Well, not exactly. See, after Michael dies, scientists take his brain and implant it into a robotic T-Rex.
The movie is just absolutely bonkers and for sure the only film out there in which you can see a T-Rex giving the middle finger (at least unless Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom gets really weird). Speaking of the T-Rex, the special effect of the dinosaur is dreadful, which is especially embarrassing considering this came out one year after Jurassic Park. To say the least, Jurassic Park has aged better.
Tammy and the T-Rex is certainly up there as having one of the most baffling plots for a mainstream movie, and it’s one that Denise Richards probably wouldn’t consider to be her finest work.
Next: Tammy and the T-Rex isn’t even the only absurd T-rex comedy of the early 1990s.
5. Theodore Rex
Yeah, there were a lot of terrible dinosaur movies in the 1990s. Whoopi Goldberg stars in this film that takes place in a world where dinosaurs and humans live together. Goldberg plays a detective who is paired with a T-Rex in order to catch a killer of dinosaurs. So yes, this is a buddy-cop comedy that stars Goldberg and a dinosaur. That sentence describes a real movie and is not the product of a Mad Libs game.
The only thing more bizarre than the actual movie is the story behind it. According to Slashfilm, Goldberg verbally agreed to star in the movie, and so because of what she said, pre-production got underway. Later, though, Goldberg tried to back out. But the producers were already fully underway with the movie, having been promised that Goldberg would be in it, so they sued her in order to compel her to star in this awful dinosaur comedy as they agreed. The legal dispute was covered in the press, and the drama finally ended when producers found a tape of Goldberg agreeing to star in the film. The case was settled, and Goldberg ended up in this movie she really, really didn’t want to be in.
The good news for her was that barely anybody would end up seeing it. New Line Cinema was planning to release Theodore Rex in theaters, but they ended up just putting it out straight to video. With a budget of over $30 million, this was the most expensive straight-to-video movie ever at that time. The fact that there was all this drama over a movie so horrible somehow just makes the whole thing even more hilarious.
Next: A movie about dolphins being used to kill the president of the United States
6. The Day of the Dolphin
“Unwittingly, he trained a dolphin to kill the president of the United States.” That’s the tagline for the 1973 George C. Scott movie The Day of the Dolphin, and it’s possibly the greatest tagline in the history of cinema.
In the film, a scientist trains dolphins to communicate with humans. But then members of a secret organization kidnap the dolphins as part of a plot to use them to assassinate the president.
The movie didn’t get particularly good reviews at the time, although it ended up receiving two Academy Awards nominations: Best Original Score and Best Sound. In his review, Roger Ebert noted that for a movie with this insane premise, director Mike Nichols treats it all with far too much weight. “Nichols apparently took the project too seriously; the last thing we really needed was a ‘Day of the Dolphin’ that aims to be, of all things, dignified and bittersweet,” he wrote.
Next: Quite possibly the most bizarre Christmas movie ever made
7. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
Next Christmas, if you’re getting tired of re-watching Home Alone or A Christmas Story and want something new, you could check out one of the strangest Christmas movies ever made: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.
The plot is even more baffling than you’d expect from the title. It starts off on Mars, where young children watch a lot of Earth television and learn about Santa Claus. As it turns out, there’s a whole society on Mars, and the Martians are discouraged from having original thoughts or any kind of fun. But the Martians decide they want a Santa Claus of their own, so they come to Earth to kidnap him.
Santa doesn’t really end up doing much conquering. He just kind of gets taken to Mars, where he makes toys for everyone there and deals with some annoying Martians who don’t like him. The movie commonly makes lists of the best worst movies ever made, and it made for a great episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Next: This relatively recent movie gained a lot of attention for being so ridiculous.
8. Iron Sky
The title sounds innocuous enough, but Iron Sky is anything but. In this 2012 film, astronauts arrive on the Moon, only to discover that Nazis have been living there since 1945. Apparently, after World War II, Nazis fled to the Moon, where they built a colony and spend decades plotting their revenge. Now, these space Nazis are ready to strike. Oh, and the president of the United States is very clearly supposed to be Sarah Palin.
For a movie that sounds that stupid, Iron Sky is surprisingly well made — or, at least, surprisingly not terribly made. It has a 36 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is about 35 points higher than you’d think. Perhaps the most underrated insane thing about the film is that in Finland, it was distributed by Walt Disney.
The movie was also popular enough that it spawned a comic book and a video game, and a sequel is in the works.
Next: One of the weirdest slasher movies ever made
The very first shot of 2008’s Thankskilling is of a Pilgrim’s bare breasts. She’s running through the forest on the first Thanksgiving, shirtless for no discernable reason, when she trips. She looks up to find a demonic evil turkey, who raises an ax and murders her, after delivering a filthy one-liner about her breasts. That all happens in the first 90 seconds.
As the movie progresses, we learn that this killer turkey was created by a Native American shaman hundreds of years ago, and it returns every 505 years for blood. You might expect it to just play out like a standard slasher movie, but almost everything that happens is completely insane, even during the scenes that would be the “calm” parts of a normal slasher. At one point, the turkey hails down a car, only for the driver to try to have sex with him. Later, the turkey is able to convince another character that he is a human just by wearing a pair of fake glasses.
The whole thing is a farce, and that’s definitely the intention. Hilariously, when it came time to make a sequel, director Jordan Downey skipped right to Thankskilling 3, with the plot being about the search for the last remaining copy of the long-lost sequel Thankskilling 2.
Next: This cult horror movie definitely lives up to the crazy hype.
10. Killer Klowns From Outer Space
Now that’s a movie title. In this 1988 sci-fi horror film, aliens arrive to Earth, and it just so happens that these aliens look and act a lot like circus clowns. Their spaceship is a giant circus tent, they shoot popcorn from their guns, they wrap people up in cotton candy, and they even create balloon animals that come alive.
The movie delivers exactly what you would hope for from a cheesy 1980s movie about killer clowns. One of the highlights has got to be the scene where a clown makes a shadow puppet on a wall, only for that puppet to legitimately kill people. What makes it all even funnier is the fact that the movie plays everything relatively straight. It’s also genuinely gorgeous to look at, complete with cool puppet designs and colorful sets. You could watch it with the sound off and still have a good time.
Though it didn’t make much of an impact in the 1980s, the movie has become a cult hit, so much so that a sequel has been in talks for years.
Next: Roger Ebert gave this insane science fiction movie one star.
11. The Thing With Two Heads
In this 1972 film, a dying surgeon makes plans to have his head transplanted onto a new body. But it turns out, the surgeon is super racist, and he’s shocked to wake up from the surgery to find his head attached to a black man. Not only that, but the black man’s head remains on the body; it’s not like they replaced one head with the other. So the result is basically a black man having the head of an old racist stuck to him.
It might sound like the idea for a dark comedy, but it’s played straight. The whole movie is basically the two men yelling at one another and trying to gain control over the body.
Probably the best thing that came out of the movie is the trailer, which features this brilliant description: “It seemed like a good idea at the time. A white bigot was dying, and a black soul brother needed time to prove his innocence. So they transplanted the white head onto the black body. Who would have suspected that neither would care for the idea too much?”
Next: Next to Sharknado, this is one of the dumbest ideas for a shark movie ever.
12. Sand Sharks
In the 40 years since Jaws came out, there have been literally hundreds of rip-offs. But it eventually got to the point where there were so many that filmmakers had to shake things up; a simple movie about a killer shark was no longer enough. The result was movies like Sand Sharks.
Sand sharks are, of course, a real type of shark; they have that name because they swim close to the shore. You might think this movie would be about them. But instead, it’s actually about sharks that can swim through the sand. The result is kind of a mix of Jaws and Tremors, except without anything that makes those movies good. Like most SyFy original movies, this is one where watching the trailer is more than enough to leave you satisfied, and the movie itself should be avoided at all costs.
On the SyFy channel from the late 2000s into the early 2010s, there was a clear pattern of movies getting more and more intentionally ridiculous, which eventually brought us to Sharknado, the first one to really get mainstream attention. By that point, the shenanigans going on at SyFy were just too crazy to ignore.
Next: This 1996 comedy features a bunch of singing, dancing cockroaches.
13. Joe’s Apartment
You might not remember this 1996 comedy, which bombed in theaters and only made $4 million. But you should, as it’s one of the most absurd mainstream movies to come out of that decade.
In it, Joe (Jerry O’Connell) moves into a run-down apartment in New York, only to discover that it’s infested with cockroaches. But they’re not just normal cockroaches: these cockroaches sing and dance. There are scenes in the film that are literally two full minutes of absolutely nothing but cockroaches dancing around with no humans being present. If you saw it in theaters in 1996, you must have needed to ask someone nearby to pinch you.
The movie was originally a series of shorts that would air between programming on MTV. That’s the format this premise is suited to, but the idea of making a full motion picture out of it might be one of the worst in the history of Hollywood.
Next: This 2017 film left the few people who saw it in a state of bewilderment.
14. The Book of Henry
You have almost certainly heard of The Book of Henry, the 2017 movie starring Naomi Watts and Jacob Tremblay. But based on the film’s box office performance, it’s safe to say you probably haven’t seen it and that all you know about the movie is what’s in the trailers. If that’s the case, you won’t believe what the film is really about; the premise for The Book of Henry is one of the most insane that has ever made its way to theaters in recent years.
What’s set up in the trailer is that the movie is about a single mom and her two kids, who attempt to intervene when they discover their neighbor is being abused by her father. But this is only scratching the surface of what actually happens. In the movie itself, Henry suddenly dies of a brain tumor not long into the film. He leaves behind a notebook detailing a plan to rescue the neighbor.
That plan is to literally murder the next-door neighbor’s father. So yes, this is a mainstream, Hollywood movie about a woman whose dead son leaves her instructions on how to kill her neighbor with a sniper rifle. The film received horrible reviews, and months after its release, Disney mysteriously fired Colin Trevorrow from Star Wars: Episode IX. It’s still unclear whether The Book of Henry was a factor in that decision, but it couldn’t have helped.
Next: The only movie out there to combine surfing and Nazis.
15. Surf Nazis Must Die
From Troma Entertainment, the production company behind some of the most gloriously schlocky B-movies ever made, comes the 1987 film Surf Nazis Must Die. In it, gangs of surfers fight for control of the California beaches, with a group of Neo-Nazis emerging to take control.
That is until a black woman nicknamed “Mama” decides to take matters into her own hands and hunt down the titular surf nazis. The trailer for the film promises that it will be one of the great action movies of all time. “First there was The Road Warrior,” the narrator says. “Then there was The Terminator. Now comes an action film of relentless excitement!” As you’d probably guess, the movie does not live up to that mighty promise.
Troma has made the entire film available to watch on YouTube for free. As with a lot of these types of films, much of it is just boring. Skip to the last 20 minutes and you won’t feel like you missed all that much. Needless to say, though, the climax is no Inglourious Basterds.
Read more: The Best Worst Movies of All Time