Movie Bombs of the 1950s

A box office bomb is a movie that has failed to cross a threshold of profit for its distributor, studio, and production company. The costs and profit margins in the film industry are often kept secret; therefore, losses are only rough estimates and not the exact amounts. There are often speculations made as to how much a film has lost or earned a profit.

In the article ahead, we have listed down a few box office flops for you to look into for the 1950s decade.

The Conqueror

Produced by Howard Hughes, The Conqueror was a high budget movie that portrayed John Wayne as the lead character depicting Genghis Khan, the Mongolian chieftain. Susan Headward acted as a Tatar princess. The movie is known to have been filmed near a nuclear testing range. Later, this location became the reason behind the deaths of many of the movie crew. Michael Sauter, in his book ‘The Worst Movies of All Time’ has listed this movie as a massive failure. If you want to know more about Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire, you can read A Brief History of the Mongol Empire.

The Guardian called the selection of Wayne as Genghis Khan as the worst casting decision of all times. According to Complex, The Conqueror was the worst biopic ever made.

Plan 9 From Outer Space

Labeled as the ‘Worst Film Ever’ by The Golden Turkey Awards, this film is one of the massive movie bombs of the 50s. It was also the movie that witnessed the final appearance of Bela Lugosi. Shortly after shooting a few test shots, the actor passed away. Lugosi was replaced by Tom Mason, who arguably had zero resemblance to Lugosi. This, combined with some cheap, hardly believable special effects and overdone dialogues became the reason behind the failure of the film.

The plot of the movie revolves around the creation of Solaranite, a lethal weapon that has the potential to destroy the whole universe. The Aliens intend to prevent the creation of the Solaranite and save humanity. The people of Washington D.C. and Hollywood start seeing flying saucers in the sky, and it is at this point that they believe that Earth is under attack by the aliens and, therefore, a colonel, a police lieutenant, a commercial pilot put their hands together to stop them.

Viewers have found this movie to be all about preaching regarding flying saucers. The reason it failed is believed to be the fact that the writers have taken themselves too seriously. Also, the movie has a lot of verbal dialogue delivery rather than action. Viewers found the film to be too dull and lacking in action.

Bride of the Monster

The story starts with rumors about a creepy haunted mansion. Inside this haunted house, the owner Dr. Eric Vornoff conducts experiments and tries to convert human beings into super-beings with the use of atomic power. Many people have also known to have disappeared in the area, and therefore to find out as to what is going on, Reporter Janet Lawton starts investigating the story. The film goes on to show how Lawton gets caught by the doctor and becomes a potential experiment.

Viewers have believed that the movie portrays horrible acting skills. Also, the sets and the special effects have been known to be disliked by the majority critics. The motive behind the evil actions of the doctor has not been depicted in the movie, which is another flaw.

Viewers found that the story did not make much sense. Additionally, the direction of Ed Wood did not also get much praise.

Glen or Glenda

This movie has two stories in it. Glen is a man who secretly dresses as a woman, but he cannot tell this to his fiancée Barbara. Barbara is unaware of Glen’s desire to wear her Angora sweater. The other is about Alan, a pseudohermaphrodite who has taken surgery to turn himself into a woman. Dr. Alton is the storyteller who has told both the stories. The Scientist, a second narrator, also tells this story, but his storytelling contains more philosophical pronouncements than facts.

The film has flashbacks within flashbacks, and there also is a strange dream sequence. Inspector Warren’s investigation of a transvestite’s suicide leads him to realize the problems and issues of the lives of men in women’s clothes.

The reason why this movie is known to fail is poor direction. The story was also a little too slow, with a narrative style that was unable to appeal to the audience. The story was uncommon, which made the film less relatable for the masses; hence it failed to capture the attention of the public. The movie was a failure at the Box Office.

Night of the Ghouls

This movie opens in a cemetery and shows Criswell rising from the coffin. Dr. Acula (Kenne Duncan) is a phony medium aided by Valda Hansen, a bogus ghost, and big Tor Johnson, wearing rags and horrible scar makeup as Lobo. The doctor cheats people by making them believe that he can contact their dead relatives. His plan, however, backfires when he accidentally succeeds in resuscitating a few corpses that bury him alive. The movie was unreleased for 23 years because Ed Wood, the producer, was unable to pay the lab bills.

Viewers believed that the plot was confusing and was not as good as was expected from an Ed Wood movie.

How Married People Live

Vrasidas is a bossy greengrocer who wants to set his daughter Kiki with a wealthy suitor MichalisBosikos. He, therefore, sets a date at his house to set his daughter up with the wealthy suitor. Instead of things going well, a fierce argument erupts during the setting up process between his other two daughters and their husbands ending up renouncing their marital lives to live free as birds.


The real reason behind the success of a movie is a combination of ingredients that seemed to be missing from the few films mentioned above. The films either showed terrible acting skills, poor direction, or dull storylines. Overall, these movies had no luck in making a winning place in the box office after their release during the 1950s era.