Films like 2016’s Arrival (and, with any luck, some of this year’s hopefuls) prove that science fiction can still be used to provide incisive social commentary, elevating storytelling with fantastical phenomena used to make a legitimate point about the world we live in. However, some films get so bogged down with the spectacle of it all that they forget to effectively balance the narrative at hand, relying instead on creature effects and escapism in place of a compelling story and complex characters.
These are the sci-fi films that are often deemed some of the worst ever made. For the record, we’re not including sequels on our list, since that would be far too easy a crutch to lean on. Here are our picks for the worst sci-fi films of all time, in order of release date.
1. Robot Monster (1953)
Director Phil Tucker is often counted among the worst filmmakers to ever sit behind the camera, and this film is a prime reason why. The title character is essentially an actor in a gorilla suit and diving helmet, and that fact in and of itself proves how flimsy a foundation its narrative sits on. Accordingly, the film is dubbed an all-time loser.