10 Great Performances Lost In Unwatchable Movies

The true price of slumming it...

Pennywise Tim Curry

"I have never seen the film, but by all accounts, it was terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific."

So said Sir Michael Caine, on Jaws: The Revenge. And we get it, they can't all be Oscar-winners. Sometimes, great actors appear in very bad movies.

What Sir Michael neglected to notice, or mention, however, is that just because a movie is bad, it doesn't follow that one has to be bad in it. Sometimes an actor, in spite of their dire surroundings (or even elevated by them!) will give a genuinely great performance, bravely throwing deck chairs off the Titanic (see the woeful Tim Curry miniseries of 1996) while all around them sinks into the darkness.

And that's not to mention the perfect alignment of bad movie and bad performance combining to make something uniquely... great. Whether it's the consummate professional, wonderfully charismatic - or simply so bad they're beyond good, sometimes great actors end up trapped in terrible movies.

10. Steven Williams (Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday)

Pennywise Tim Curry
New Line Cinema

In Jason Goes To Hell, the Crystal Lake slasher is blown to bits during the opening credits and exists from then onwards as a body-swapping spirit, like a mute version of the Denzel Washington movie Fallen.

The worst of the Friday The 13th movies (no mean feat) is redeemed only by the appearance of Steven Williams as kooky bounty hunter Creighton Duke. Hot on the trail of Jason, Duke takes to town in style, bedecked in a stetson and breaking fingers as he goes.

An alternate, good, version of Jason Goes To Hell would have had Creighton Duke vs Jason as its main event (see the use of Dennis Hopper or Ken Foree in the Leatherface movies), but, well, Jason Goes To Hell is not a good movie.

As it is, Steven Williams's brilliant, charismatic and fun bounty hunter is wasted in a paltry handful of scenes, spending most of his time in jail before being ignominiously dispatched with a hug from a resurrected Jason. A shame.


A film critic and professional writer of over ten years, Joel Harley has a deep and abiding love of all things horror, Batman and Nicolas Cage. He can be found writing online and in print, all over the Internet and in especially good bookstores.