Cinematic Catastrophes: 18 ’80s Movies That Went Horribly Wrong

The 1980s heralded iconic films, but amidst the hits stood cinematic disasters that still echo through pop culture. From “Howard the Duck” to “Superman IV,” these 18 movies epitomized creative misfires, budgetary blunders, and critical flops, leaving a legacy of cinematic infamy that persists in the annals of film history.

“Howard the Duck” (1986)

A woman sits next to a duck in a restaurant, amusingly reminiscent of 80s films.
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

Criticized for its awkward blend of live-action and animation, it failed to captivate audiences due to a disjointed plot, bland humor, and a main character that came across as more peculiar than endearing, making it hard for the audience to enjoy this weird flick.

“Ishtar” (1987)

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Known for its bloated budget and high-profile cast, the film’s weak script, lack of cohesive direction, and underwhelming comedic elements left audiences and critics unimpressed, failing to deliver on its promising premise.

“Jaws: The Revenge” (1987)

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

Considered a low point in the franchise, the movie suffered from a far-fetched plot and questionable shark behavior, straining the credibility of the series and failing to recapture the tension and thrills of the original. This one should have been left floundering on the beach.

“Masters of the Universe” (1987)

In an '80s film, a man with blond hair is staring at the camera.
Photo Credit: The Cannon Group, Inc.

Deviating significantly from its source material, the film was panned for its departure from the established lore, lack of special effects, and a storyline that failed to engage fans and general audiences.

“Superman IV: The Quest for Peace” (1987)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Hindered by a shoestring budget, poor special effects, and a simplistic plot, the film struggled to deliver the excitement and charm of its predecessors, resulting in a boring superhero movie experience.

“Cobra” (1986)

Samuel L. Jackson stars in 'The Pursuit of Happiness', a film set in the 80s.
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Even Stallone’s star power couldn’t save this disaster. The film received criticism for its run-of-the-mill plot, one-dimensional characters, and excessive use of action cliches. Add a less-than-compelling storyline, and you have a ” Meh ” movie.

“Sheena” (1984)

Photo Credit: Sony Pictures.

Sheena suffers from a bad script and poor production values. It failed to capitalize on its potential, presenting a generic and uninspired take on the jungle adventure genre. It’s an entirely underwhelming movie that could have been so much better.

“Gymkata” (1985)

Photo Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Despite its unique premise, the film’s absurd fusion of gymnastics and martial arts is lame. The plot struggles to maintain coherence, resulting in a movie that is painful to watch.

“The Garbage Pail Kids Movie” (1987)

Photo Credit: Atlantic Entertainment Group.

Here is a movie that critics ravaged due to its grotesque and unappealing characters,  crude humor, and lack of a clear storyline. It’s a film that should have been thrown into the garbage pail.

“Hudson Hawk” (1989)

Photo Credit: Tri-Star Pictures.

How does a movie that stars Bruce Willis, Andie MacDowell, and James Coburn stink so badly? The answer is a convoluted plot, tonal inconsistencies, and forced humor that doesn’t work, resulting in a film that was a critical and commercial failure.

“Mannequin” (1987)

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

“Mannequin” tried and failed to provide a fresh take on rom-coms. The storyline is predictable, plus there is no chemistry between Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall. The movie is cliche after cliche, which shows how unoriginal this film is.

“Mac and Me” (1988)

Photo Credit: Orion Pictures.

Despite attempts to replicate the success of E.T., the film was marred by shameless product placements, a poorly executed plot, and unconvincing special effects, failing to capture the charm of its inspiration.

“The Apple” (1980)

A woman with blonde hair smiling on the red carpet at the premiere of Howard the Duck and Hudson Hawk.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Known for its bizarre storyline and exaggerated musical numbers, the film struggled to find an audience due to its nonsensical plot and lack of logical direction.

“Leonard Part 6” (1987)

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Regardless of Bill Cosby’s star power (yep, that infamous Cosby who fell from grace), the film suffered from a nonsensical plot, misguided humor, and an overall lack of entertainment value, resulting in a box-office bomb.

“Troll 2” (1990)

Photo Credit: Filmirage.

Notoriously bad for its unintentionally humorous scenes and dialogue, the film’s poor acting, nonsensical plot, and low-budget effects contributed to its status as a cult classic for “so-bad-it’s-good” enthusiasts.

“The Adventures of Ford Fairlane” (1989)

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Hammered by many for its crude humor, disjointed plot, and Andrew Dice Clay’s divisive performance, the film failed to find its footing as an action-comedy, receiving negative reviews from audiences and critics.

“My Stepmother Is an Alien” (1988)

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

A film that had potential. Sadly, it suffered the fate of many movies: a predictable and formulaic storyline. The acting was below par. “My Stepmother Is an Alien” is one 80s sci-fi flick that is entirely forgettable.

“The Slugger’s Wife” (1985)

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Hindered by a weak script, a lack of chemistry between the leads, and a lackluster storyline, the film failed to engage audiences, resulting in a forgettable cinematic experience. While these 18 movies from the 1980s might be considered terrible, they’ve carved their niche in film history. Despite critical disdain, they’ve become cult classics or cautionary tales, reminding us that despite cinematic missteps, there’s a peculiar charm in their unforgettable quirks and enduring legacies.

Generational Shift: 18 Classic Cars Loved by Boomers, Snubbed by Millennials

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In the world of automobiles, some cars are timeless, forever etched in the minds and hearts of those who drove them. But generational shifts in taste and values can lead to once-beloved vehicles being relegated to the shadows. Let’s revisit 18 classic cars adored by Baby Boomers but often overlooked by Millennials.

Generational Shift: 18 Classic Cars Loved by Boomers, Snubbed by Millennials

From Boom to Bust: 18 States on the Brink of Financial Ruin—What Went Wrong?

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We’re embarking on a financial roller coaster ride through 18 states, and it isn’t the fun kind. We’re talking about states having to check under the mattress and behind the couch cushions for extra change. These states are trying to balance their budgets, but the numbers aren’t increasing. Why are they skimming through their wallets like they lost a 20-dollar bill? Let’s find out!

From Boom to Bust: 18 States on the Brink of Financial Ruin—What Went Wrong?

Avoid These 19 Pointless Expenses When Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Woman pointing hand to head
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Living from paycheck to paycheck puts one in a dangerous financial bind. It’s more prevalent than you can imagine. According to a survey by CNBC, more than half of all Americans (58%) live paycheck to paycheck. When money is tight, it’s crucial to pinpoint and cut out wasteful expenditures that eat away at your hard-earned savings.

Avoid These 19 Pointless Expenses When Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Hollywood’s Biggest Rip-Offs: 18 Epic Movie Flops That’ll Make You Demand a Refund!

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Ah, the world of cinema – the glitz, the glamour, the… duds? Occasionally, we get hyped up for a movie, ready to be swept off our feet, but instead, we’re left scratching our heads. Popcorn, anyone? Let’s take a look at film history’s biggest letdowns.

Hollywood’s Biggest Rip-Offs: 18 Epic Movie Flops That’ll Make You Demand a Refund!