Saturday, October 6, 2012

What are the worst horror movies ever made?

Sometimes picking “the worst” of anything can be difficult.

When it comes to horror movies, though, there’s actually too much to choose from.

It’s not enough to be simply bad – at least when talking about horror movies. You have to be so bad that you actually cause people to laugh instead scream. To snicker instead of cringe. To cover your eyes because the acting is worse than the gore.

One would think finding enough horror movies to make the list would be a difficult task.

It took me less than 10 minutes -- and I didn't allow myself to go absolutely nuts on the remakes (which everyone knows suck).

Here we go:

10. Paranormal Activity: It doesn’t matter which one you single out – all of these films are bad. The franchise is marketed as terrifying. Yet the crowd I saw the first movie with could not stop laughing. The special effects are so bad they’re (literally) laughable. This movie makes the dreck that SyFy produces look like it’s quality horror. Forget for a second that I am over “documentary” horror movies. The acting in ‘Paranormal Activity’ makes soap opera actors look gifted. There is a scene where the main heroine is “dragged” off the bed in the first movie that is so unintentionally funny I couldn’t stop laughing for like 20 minutes. I don’t know about anyone else, but loud bangs on the wall and two morons carrying around a video camera instead of running is not scary to me. It’s just stupid.

9. Jason Goes to Hell: To be fair, there are a couple of ‘Friday the 13th’ movies that could make this list. Still, the one that got the tag “The Final Friday” is definitely my least favorite. It’s not like I think the ‘Friday the 13th’ franchise is perfect – but it is my favorite slasher franchise. I was actually more insulted by the 2009 remake than this flick – but this one is still the worst in the grand scheme of things. Not only is Jason largely absent, but the “killers” in the film actually are eating his heart to absorb his black soul and wandering around giving the Jason “virus” to one another. There’s also a secret society and a forgotten sister. Yeah, the whole thing is crap.

8. Mama: Never has a horror movie with such a great pedigree (Guillermo del Toro, Jessica Chastain, Nicholas Waldau) been such a huge and pathetic disappointment. The movie opens strong, with a father -- just completing a murderous rampage at his office -- taking his two young daughters into the woods with the intention of killing them (and himself). A mystical force steps in, though, and saves the two young girls. Five years later, the twin brother of the killer is still looking for his missing family members. Two members of his search crew stumble on a house in the middle of the woods where the young girls are found. Essentially feral, the girls slowly start learning the ways of the world. Unfortunately, they brought something back from the woods with them. The special effects in this are terrible. The trite ghost mother looking for her dead baby to be reunited with is beyond cliched. The best thing you can say about this movie is that Chastain is a great actress and Waldau is hot. It's not enough. Plus, I'm sorry, but how exactly did they explain the disappearance of one of those kids at the end of the movie (not to mention the two dead bodies at the cabin): "I'm sorry officer, Lily turned into a moth. There's nothing we can do about it. What do you mean you don't believe me?"

7. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: None of the sequels were ever as good as the original (I did like 'New Nightmare,' though), but the second movie in this franchise was easily the most insulting. Maybe it’s because the first movie is so good, but my hate for the second movie is legendary. A lot of people are turned off by the homosexual subplot of the movie. I just can’t stand the casting, the plot and the special effects. I don’t care either way if the lead character is gay. I hate that the story crafted for him completely ruins Freddy.

6. Ghost Ship: I actually like the cast of this film. I’m a big fan of Julianna Margulies, Gabriel Byrne and Karl Urban. I really wanted to like this film. And, if I’m being honest, I still watch it from time-to-time. I think it does do some things right. It just does more wrong than it does right. The idea of a haunted ocean liner running around the world’s oceans unchecked for decades is a great idea. The idea of tying it to soul exchanges and marked people is not.

5. The People Under the Stairs: I used to think this was so bad it’s good. I’ve recently revamped my thinking. This is just plain bad. To be fair, some of the performances are so campy that they’re ultimately memorable. They’re also so campy that you laugh instead of quake with fear. I tend to shy away from horror that can double as an After School Special. If you take away the campy acting, that’s essentially what this movie is. It’s basically just a lesson on prejudice and child abuse.

4. Cabin Fever 2: Cabin Fever is one of those indie films that catches you off guard. It’s a simple premise, with a simple storytelling technique and a predictable outcome. Still, ‘Cabin Fever’ has moments of greatness that include a creepy leg shaving scene, a bike riding “party” cop and a hand biting kid with a mullet screaming about pancakes. There is a surreal nature to ‘Cabin Fever’ that makes it a classic. ‘Cabin Fever 2,’ though, is just a steaming pile of crap. Everything that was unique and great about ‘Cabin Fever’ is lost in ‘Cabin Fever 2.’

3. I Know Who Killed Me: Lindsay Lohan was a great child actor. She’s a terrible adult actor, though, and this movie proves it. I think the director was trying to be stylized – filming the movie through colored lenses to give the impression of greatness. It still doesn’t change the fact that this movie was far from great. Forget, for a second, the “lost twin” scenario. The end of the film wants to make you ask yourself existential questions about life, death and the way the mind works. I ended up creeped out by inappropriate amputee sex and a creepy father/daughter relationship that would have been better left on the cutting room floor instead of actual scares.

2. The Final Destination franchise: I actually liked the first movie in this franchise. It was something we – as viewers – hadn’t really seen before. The deaths were inventive. The actors were solid. The dialogue was believable. In essence, it kept you on your toes. So what happened with the sequels? The second movie opened up with a modicum of promise – a chain reaction car accident that went on for what seemed like forever. After that, though, the movie fell into trite territory. At this point, after last year’s fifth installment in the franchise, I can’t muster up enough energy to care. I might be able to tolerate these movies if they were so bad they were funny. They’re not, though. The characters are caricatures. The dialogue is empty. There’s nothing really left to root for in the franchise. The sequels are so bad, they’ve now ruined the original for me.

1. The Halloween remakes: Rob Zombie proved himself to be a gifted director with ‘House of 1,000 Corpses’ and ‘The Devil’s Rejects.’ I guess he seemed like a natural selection to reboot the ‘Halloween’ franchise. Well, it was a mistake. First off, there was no reason to reboot ‘Halloween.’ The original still stands up and is not only memorable but still truly terrifying. To do it the way they did, though, with the first third of the movie revolving around Michael’s white trash family was just obnoxious. The terrifying thing about Michael as a character is that, in the originals, we have no idea why he would go on a killing spree. In the remakes, though, the only question is why he didn’t kill his mother and baby sister, too. Still, despite all I’ve just said, the first remake was still infinitely better than that second one. That second one, with the white horse and the creepy mom ghost? Yeah, that was so bad they have to invent a new name for crap.

Honorable mentions go to:

Silent House: It had a very good start. It had a solid middle. It had me actually checking my locks to make sure they were fashioned. Then it devolved into a Lifetime movie for women and a cautionary tale about child rape. It could have been so much more.

An American Haunting: This movie, just like ‘Silent House,’ had a great build up and a creepy base to build from. Then they turned it into a cautionary tale about what happens when you rape your daughter and the whole thing went to crap.

Plan 9 From Outer Space: I actually find this movie so bad it’s funny. Still, there really is nothing redeemable about it – let alone scary.

Saw IV: Actually, everything after the first ‘Saw’ was a mistake. By this point, though, you’re jumping back and forth in history. Be honest? Can you tell the ‘Saw’ films apart? Or do they just all melt into one big river of suck for you, too?

Dreamcatcher: Despite a dream cast, this is really a movie about poop monsters – and nobody likes poop monsters unless they're in a Kevin Smith film.

The Fog (2005): This was just awful – on so many levels. I like Maggie Grace, but she was not only flat but vapid. And Tom Welling? He’s as wooden as ever. Still, I had hope that this supernatural ghost story would have legs. Turned out they were peg legs.

Diary of the Dead: George Romero was the king of horror at one time. Now he’s the king of crap. The past, I don’t know, five “Dead” films he has put out are more convoluted than anything else. It was a hard choice, picking between ‘Diary of the Dead’ and ‘Survival of the Dead.’ Ultimately, I went with ‘Diary of the Dead’ because I can’t stand “documentary” horror. Still, ‘Diary of the Dead’ does have one great scene – I love the zombies in the pool.

What do you think? What are the worst horror movies ever made?


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