12 hilarious sci-fi TV and movie goofs that will have you baffled

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Evan Hoovler
Dec 14, 2012

A lot of people criticize sci-fi shows for making small errors, like when shadows are different between two shots, and we try to give those a pass. But then there are the errors so blatant we HAVE to sit up and take notice. We have absolutely no explanation for why nobody caught these hilarious goofs in classic sci-fi films and TV programs.

Firefly's Invisible Controls

The Crazy Ivan was a cool evasion maneuver used in Serenity. Apparently it is so cool it makes the controls go invisible, because afterward Wash isn't grabbing on to anything at all. Check out this clip at 8:35.

Explain to us what the hell is going on with the imaginary controls. Wash is kinda kooky, but he's not "ha ha, you thought I was piloting Serenity when actually I've just painted on this entire control panel" kooky.

If we had to venture a guess upon first seeing the pilot miming steering a spaceship, we might surmise that this was a rehearsal walk-through that the editors just decided was better than the actual scene. Which gives us a small glimpse at just how awesomely all the actors were firing in this classic pilot.

Superman: Jor-El's Wristwatch

Try as we might to pretend that Superman's biological dad has some cool device strapped to his wrist, we just can't see it as anything but a Rolex 10 seconds into this classic clip.

Why did Marlon Brando need to know the time so badly that he was willing to risk goofing up a classic film?

Perhaps it was because he wanted to make sure he got to the bank in time. According to the documentary in the 2001 re-release of the film, Brando had a rather eccentric contract. He only worked two weeks, insisted that his part be small and didn't read the script beforehand. So, yeah, we suppose Brando did think he had better things to do than take off his watch. For this "effort" he was paid an alleged $3.7 million.

Ghostbusters: Sigourney Weaver wardrobe malfunction

This classic, PG-rated blockbuster contains a surprise only eagle-eyed fans were able to glimpse in theaters. When Sigourney Weaver sees the really-scary-demon-that-she-should-probably-run-from-but-doesn't, hands come up from behind the sofa, grabbing her. For a brief instant, her sweater comes down and a huge goof slipped into movie history.

What's even more interesting is that the hand pulling down the sweater actually appears to be Sigourney's, as evidenced by this clip (skip forward 44 seconds):

The still image can be found here, although we will redundantly warn you that this is not safe for work. It probably wasn't safe for all the preteens who saw the film. Many of whom probably saw this clip, got aroused, and assumed they had some sort of demon fetish.

Charmed: Phoebe Misspells Her Own Name

Acting can be hard, but do you know what's not hard? Being a hand stunt double for a cable TV show. We're going to assume Alyssa Milano studied enough to actually learn her character's name, and that the mistake five minutes and fifteen seconds into this clip was the result of a hurried pickup shot with someone standing in for Alyssa's hands.

But we're also going to assume the editors didn't catch this mistake. How important is it to show Phoebe signing her name that they couldn't just cut the close-up? There should always be someone double-checking this, because we imagine hand models aren't known for being good spellers.

Star Wars: Darth Vader Gets Dressed Incorrectly

Okay, you're a space villain and you're getting ready for battle. Not just any battle, but one with the guy who was once your mentor. What's the most important thing you do to prepare? "Making sure you don't put your clothes on upside down," that's right. A backward helmet can only hurt you in battle.

That being said, Darth Vader's chest plate flips in mid-fight during the famous duel scene with Obi-Wan Kenobi. The wardrobe confusion starts at 3:03.

Sci-fi acting is unique in that you are given a bunch of imaginary costumes and equipment, and you're supposed to look proficient with them, and use them the same way every time. That's as difficult as a caveman trying to look proficient at flying an airplane.

Star Wars: Stormtrooper Bumps His Head

While we're on SW, we should cover the most celebrated Star Wars goof of all time: the stormtrooper doinking his head on the low doorway. He cracks it pretty hard, so we're wondering why they didn't just cut the shot a little sooner? Watch the hilarious clip.

We imagine the actor didn't tell anyone he banged his head, and just hoped this film would fade into obscurity as yet another space clone. Everyone who is 30 years old and named "Obie" had parents who thought the same thing.

Teen Wolf: Hot Dog Stand Is Open

Ah, extras. They work for peanuts in the shadows of the main actors, hoping to someday get their big break. But the truth is, most extras are so bad that they can barely act naturally. This guy, from the climactic finish in Teen Wolf, can't even stand up without his pants flying open, Bozo-the-Clown style. Not only that, but he apparently didn't feel like telling anyone about it, either, so they could reshoot this scene.

It's easy to tell that the act is unintentional, as the guy covers himself up immediately. The thought of this happening to modern-day teen posers in skinny jeans brightened our day.

Raiders of the Lost Ark: Cobra Behind Glass

One of the most memorable scenes in this spectacular film finds ophidiophobe Indiana Jones face-to-face with a terrifying snake. For those of us lucky enough to see this in theaters, the frightening effect was ruined by the fact that we could see the cobra's reflection in the safety glass between it and Indy.

Note that this mistake, though present in the VHS version, has been fixed nicely in modern DVDs. Now if only the DVD version of Crystal Skull could fix things by inserting completely different scenes.

Lord of the Rings: A Car Comes to Middle-Earth

It's hard to do an epic requiring lots of sweeping countryside shots and not accidentally include some weird thing. Rumor has it that sharp eyes can spot moving traffic in The Omega Man, which goes against the "humanity has been obliterated" theme. Here's the LotR clip—the car can be seen at 1:47.

Now you may be thinking, "that looks a chimney!" This is because the car was made to look like a chimney for the DVD release. The National Geographic documentary, "Beyond the Movie the Lord of the Rings" shows the car-inclusive scene, windshield reflection and all. There's also a rumor floating around the Internet that Peter Jackson hides a car in all of his movies. We're pretty sure we never saw one in Return of the King, but we'd love to hear your theories.

The Fifth Element: Pre-Cracked Glass

The Fifth Element was a blockbuster and made Milla Jovovich into the cerebral, highbrow film actress she is today. But it was made in 1997, so some of the special effects look pretty cheesy by modern standards. Remember, this was still a time when we thought this Space Jam web page was kinda neat (it's on the Internet 2!). But there's nothing digital about making a glass panel break when you punch it.

Which is why it's so out of place that when Leeloo cocks her fist 25 seconds into this clip, the glass is obviously pre-broken.

It's amazing how nobody in post-production thought to say, "Hey, this film is really turning into a classic. Why don't we not show a close-up of that really corny special effect? Instead we could have more shots of Milla Jovovich looking hot!"

Dark Shadows: Actor Talks about His Incestors

Much of the world has become beautifully intermixed with different cultures. Because of this, there are often many different ways to pronounce words. Sometimes these words sound like other, sillier words. Like the time we poured our heart out to a woman only to find out she had just been asking us for some "olive juice."

That said, nobody laughs at these silly homonyms except in the schoolyard. Here's a unique clip from the classic, soon-to-be-a-movie series Dark Shadows. Fifteen seconds into it, the main actor pronounces the word "ancestors," as "incestors."

To be honest, the two words sound so much alike he could've just proceeded and nobody would've cared (especially since "incestors" isn't even a word). Instead, he repeats the word, gives the other actor a knowing look, and then gets back to acting. That's shocking enough, but the fact that the blooper was left in the shows how difficult the production schedule was for Dark Shadows. Many scenes could only be done in one take, which has added to the camp value of this outstanding series.

Terminator 2: Fake Arm Gets Ripped off, Real Arm Can Be Seen

In a movie that was known for having, at the time, unbelievable special effects, it's amazing that they would mess up so badly on what amounts to a simple parlor trick.

One of the most epic scenes in movie history features Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Terminator fighting the hard-to-kill T-1000. In one of the most memorable moments (which unfortunately can't be embedded, but can be seen here), the Terminator rips off his own arm. We've all seen this trick—a fake arm is removed while the real arm is tucked away. However, for Arnold Schwarzenegger, "tucking away your arm" is like hiding an oak tree. The fabric containing him is stretched so taut we can clearly see the outline of his wristwatch. Wristwatch? Why does the terminator need a wristwatch? Argh, it's Jor-El all over again!

As you can see, there have been major goofs in sci-fi films and TV shows. Note that only a few of these could have been avoided by the actor removing his watch. Not only do these mistakes make rewatching these sci-fi classics a treat, they make us realize how truly difficult these eye-popping scenes are to make. Fortunately, a hundred years from now every movie will be 100 percent computer-rendered, which will eliminate any goofs:

Oh, wait, no it won't.