I’m not a fan of the film critic Joe Queenan – a man for whom the word “meretricious” might have been invented, too interested in the easy gag regardless of its truth – but he has a list of six criteria for “worst films ever” in an article in the Guardian. (Really five, since one effectively repeats itself).
For starters, a truly awful movie must have started out with some expectation of not being awful. … Two, an authentically bad movie has to be famous; it can’t simply be an obscure student film about a boy who eats live rodents to impress dead girls. Three, the film cannot be a deliberate attempt to make the worst movie ever, as this is cheating. Four, the film must feature real movie stars, not jocks, bozos, has-beens or fleetingly famous media fabrications like Hilton. Five, the film must generate a negative buzz long before it reaches cinemas; … it cannot simply appear out of nowhere. And it must, upon release, answer the question: could it possibly be as bad as everyone says it is? … Six, to qualify as one of the worst movies ever made, a motion picture must induce a sense of dread in those who have seen it, a fear that they may one day be forced to watch the film again – and again – and again.