NEW YORK – Tinseltown often borrows from cult literature, with varying degrees of success. Here is Foxnews.com's unofficial, unscientific list of the worst — and best — adaptations for the big screen.
1. Naked Lunch (1991) - Talk about unfilmable. Legend has it that before he handed in his novel about poison-eating exterminators, a decadent Middle Eastern city and creatures called Mugwumps, William S. Burroughs randomly shuffled the chapters to make sure the story made even less sense. David Cronenberg, however, tried to tie the non-narrative to Burroughs' own life. Fans of the book scarcely recognized the filmmaker's take on the Beat fantasy. B -
2. Batman (1989) - On the heels of the Caped Crusader's reinvention in comics as a troubled crimefighter, Batfans were influential in making sure the movie version was less like the 1960s TV show and more like Frank Miller's influential graphic novel, The Dark Knight Returns. In Tim Burton's hands, the humor was grim, the Joker was Jack Nicholson, and the fans were plenty pleased. B+
3. Dune (1984) - The Byzantine sci-fi story of power and betrayal in the year 10191 was visually stunning but made no sense, even to longtime fans of author Frank Herbert. C
4. The Lord of the Rings (1978) - This animated version of the events in roughly the first of half of Tolkien's books left critics unimpressed, fans deeply disappointed and newcomers to the tales nonplussed. C -
5. Superman (1978) - The Man of Steel falls for Lois Lane, foils Lex Luthor's plan and saves the world from nuclear destruction. This adaptation of the pop-culture giant actually added pathos to what had been one of the less interesting comic book characters, and made fans out of many moviegoers. A