21 Sci-Fi Movies That Were Brutally Bad

When done right, the science fiction genre can be an escape for us to experience worlds and environments much, much different than our own.

However, science fiction can also be a host to myriad bad ideas, poorly executed passion projects, and ambitious misfires that live on in infamy. I've assembled 21 of these out-of-this-world sci-fi duds with the "can't look away" quality saved for the most laughably half-witted of the genre.

21.Jupiter Ascending

"Jupiter Ascending"

A half-dog Channing Tatum protects Mila Kunis against an overacting Eddie Redmayne in order to fulfill her great cosmic fate in this epic misstep from the Wachowskis.

Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

20.The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996)

"The Island of Dr. Moreau"

Fired directors, clashing co-stars, and studio interference eventually transformed a Val Kilmer-starring adaptation of H.G. Wells' iconic novel into a bizarre and aimless fiasco featuring Marlon Brando in pale pancake makeup and an ice bucket on his head.

New Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Collection

19.Fateful Findings

Neil Breen Films via Giphy

I dare you to find a science fiction movie as confusing, convoluted, and unintentionally comedic as Neil Breen's misguided cult film Fateful Findings.



This over-the-top post-apocalyptic film feels like a second-rate Mad Max with a group of rollerblading orphans, but has achieved newfound popularity as a long-lost "so-bad-it's-good" gem.

MGM / Courtesy Everett Collection



Moonfall is Roland Emmerich at his most Roland Emmerich-y, as the filmmaker finds another implausible excuse to put Earth at peril while executing a script that feels salvaged from a conspiracy theorist's message board.

Lionsgate / Moviestore Collection Ltd. / Courtesy Alamy

16.Robocop 3

"Robocop 3"

If you saw the brilliant, ultraviolent satire of Robocop and just wish it was sanitized to a PG-13, stripped of its ingenuity and needed Robocop-fighting robot ninjas, then Robocop 3 might be just the film for you.

Orion Pictures / Collection Christophel / Courtesy Alamy

15.Suburban Commando

"Suburban Commando"

It's probably a smart idea to avoid Hulk Hogan movies entirely, but it takes a certain kind of masochist to endure his '90s sci-fi kids flick in which he plays an intergalactic warrior who seeks refuge with a middle-class family when his ship crashes on Earth.

New Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Collection

14.Planet of the Apes (2001)

"Planet of the Apes"

Tim Burton has never dropped the ball as hard as he did with his remake of Planet of the Apes, which egregiously features Mark Wahlberg with a Caesar haircut and a twist on its predecessor's iconic ending that elicits more laughs than gasps.

20th Century Fox Film Corp. / Courtesy Everett Collection

13.Skyline (2010)


Alien abductions have never been less exciting than this corny film starring the unlikely duo of Eric Balfour and Donald Faison, though its more action-heavy sequels have found a minor cult fanbase courtesy of Film Twitter.

Relativity Media / Moviestore Collection Ltd. / Courtesy Alamy



Though Neill Blomkamp deserves all the credit in the world for District 9, there's no excuse for this absent-minded movie about a police robot with an adolescent operating system who is programmed to commit crimes by a gang, most of which is played by, you guessed it, Die Antwoord.

Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

11.The Visitor (1979)

"The Visitor"

You may not be able to call The Visitor (1979) a good film by any means, but it's at the very least compelling in its decisions to be as bewildering as possible while shamelessly ripping off every major blockbuster of the previous two years.

Brouwersgracht Investments / FVI / Swan American Film / TCD / Prod DB / Alamy

10.Barb Wire

"Barb Wire"

Poor Pamela Anderson, who hoped to establish herself as a viable leading actor but instead headlined one of the most lackluster comic book adaptations of all time, which is certainly saying something.

Gramercy Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection



Antoine Fuqua directs this terrible reincarnation sci-fi film with the energy of a drive-thru car wash, but at least he's matching the unabashed laziness of the film's miscast lead, Mark Wahlberg.

Di Bonaventura Pictures / Paramount Pictures / Album / Courtesy Alamy

8.After Earth

"After Earth"

After Earth was supposed to be another hit for Will Smith that would also establish his son, Jaden, as a movie star and help break M. Night Shyamalan out of movie jail, but instead, it was equal parts boring and bad, and it ultimately halted the professional momentum of all three men.

Sony Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

7.In Time

"In Time"

In Time is corny to a fault, especially given how hard all involved committed to the silly "time is currency" subplot that also posits a world where Olivia Wilde is Justin Timberlake's mom.

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation / Courtesy Everett Collection

6.Lost in Space (1998)

"Lost in Space"

If you wish you could forget how bad the overblown 1998 feature film adaptation of Lost in Space was, just imagine how the cast and crew must feel omitting it from their résumés for nearly 25 years.

New Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Collection



In 1981, someone thought it was a great idea to give Andy Kaufman a starring vehicle where robots (played by Kaufman and Bernadette Peters) escaped their routine "lives" and ran away together, resulting in negative reviews across the board and the unconventional comedian offering to refund everyone who saw it during his appearance on Late Night With David Letterman.

Universal Pictures / Album / Courtesy Alamy

4.Judge Dredd

"Judge Dredd"

A toothless take on one of the most badass comic book properties of all time, Judge Dredd made a valiant attempt at making the antihero's adventures more accessible by toning down the violence, taking him out of his signature mask, teaming him with a quip-heavy Rob Schneider, and pitting him against the non-threatening character actor Armand Assante.

Buena Vista Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

3.Battlefield Earth

"Battlefield Earth"

The vanity project to end all vanity projects, Battlefield Earth is a disaster of astronomical proportions, although those willing to turn their brains off could enjoy it for how impressively incompetent this Scientology-laden blunder is from start to finish.

Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection



If you're a fan of Kurt Wimmer's "gunkata" sci-fi directorial debut, Equilibrium, then you will probably hate his subsequent entry into the ultra-specific subgenre, which only succeeds in delivering underwhelming action, lackluster visual effects, and a senselessly complicated script.

Screen Gems / Courtesy Everett Collection

1.Serenity (2019)


Not to be confused with the Firefly spinoff from the decade prior, Serenity has all the pieces of a clever neo-noir film about a man hired to kill his ex-wife's new husband, but shuffles all of those pieces into an absolutely jaw-dropping exhibition of stupidity in the form of a stealth science fiction film that somehow ropes in fishing metaphors, an ominous salesperson, nude cliff diving, and a shocking climax with the most hysterically bizarre moral compass ever.

Aviron Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Which sci-fi movie would you add to the list?