A Bloody Good Time 08.30.12: Top 10 Horror Guilty Pleasures
Posted by Joseph Lee on 08.30.2012
From Jason X and M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening to Constantine, House of Wax, Seed of Chucky and more, 411's Joseph Lee counts down his top 10 guilty pleasure horror films!
Opening Logo courtesy of Benjamin J. Colón (Soul Exodus)
Welcome to A Bloody Good Time.
Last week my fellow 411 staff members and I got together and looked at why we love horror. I can't really post your feedback, because there's nothing to respond to. You just shared why you love horror as well and it was one big love-fest. So let's get right to this week!
This week was originally going to be a list of films I didn't think were as bad as everyone says, but reasons I'll get into a little later, it has been changed to my personal top ten horror guilty pleasures. What is a guilty pleasure? Well I think it's a little self-explanatory. It's a movie that you enjoy or get pleasure from (if we're taking the term literally) but makes you feel guilty because of how many people actively hate it. Most guilty pleasures are acknowledged to be bad, or at the least, unfairly maligned.
For this list I actually looked at a few lists of what some deemed the worst horror films of all time (like Total Film) and MovieFone) and picked the ones I actually enjoy. That's when the topic got changed. Originally, this list was going to be about movies that aren't as bad as everyone says. Some of the films featured here are still in that mold. But as I saw more movies that I enjoy (that everyone else loathes), I decided it's best to call this what it is: a guilty pleasures list.
So yes, some of these movies are bad. Some of them have zero redeeming factors from a filmmaking standpoint. I can't defend them if you choose to tell me how much they suck. In fact I'll probably agree with you in most cases. But I like (nay, love) these movies anyway.
As a short caveat, this movie will not include Killer Klowns From Outer Space. That movie makes a lot of people's "worst lists" and for that it's underrated, but I'm definitely not ashamed to say I love it. I think you should be ashamed if you don't love it. I'm also not listing Troll 2 because it's actually become more accepted these days for what it is and I don't feel guilty about that.
Here are my top ten horror guilty pleasures! Just for fun, I'm ranking them not by any sort of order, but by tomatometer!
46% on RT: Constantine (2005)
This is the only one on the list I actually consider good, but it gets hated on by so many people I can't really bring up the fact that I like it without people looking at me like I'm insane. Constantine is based on a little-known comic called Hellblazer. It follows an exorcist who is trying to buy his way back into Heaven (he killed himself at the age of 15 but was resuscitated) by riding the world of evil. Soon he gets involved in a plot to bring the anti-christ to Earth.
There are several reasons why I love this movie. For one, I love the idea that Hell is basically a post-apocalyptic wasteland that is crawling with demons. It seems more terrifying to me than a place where there's a lot of fire. Secondly, this movie has some fun performances. Keanu Reeves is Keanu Reeves, you like him or you don't. Personally I think he does a fine job here. But the show-stealers are Tilda Swinton and Peter Stormore, who is the most over-the-top Satan ever (and I've see the South Park movie). You've gotta love a movie that features a guy flipping off Lucifer when he gets into Heaven.
33% on RT: Leprechaun in the Hood (2000)
Let's be honest. This movie really shouldn't even exist. This the fifth Leprechaun movie and someone thought it would be a great idea to make it about the Leprechaun in a urban enviroment. There shouldn't even have been a second Leprechaun movie, but this franchise is one big guilty pleasure. You can't help but love Warwick Davis' portrayal and even the dumbest films in the series (Leprechaun in Space) still get a few laughs. It's always been my belief that these were never meant to be scary, and as comedies they are silly fun.
They don't get any sillier or more fun than this one. As I said last year: You get everything you could ever want from a movie where Leprechaun fights rappers. He becomes a pimp. He gets high, he even raps. Yes. The Leprechaun raps. If that doesn't sell you on this movie then nothing will.. Sometimes you don't watch a movie to do anything more than have a good time. It's hard not to smile at a movie like this, even if you hate yourself for doing it.
33% on RT: Seed of Chucky (2005)
I know that Seed of Chucky has its problems. Glen in particular is one of the worst things about the entire series. But man this movie has a lot of funny moments, and unlike some other films on this list, they are intentionally funny. I think my favorite scene is still when Tiffany vows to stop killing, and goes through an AA-like group to kick the habit. She then calls the widow of a former victim and proceeds to apologize for what she did while the woman sobs uncontrollably on the other side. If you're a fan of dark humor, this film has a lot of it.
But there are many who consider this the worst in the series (how they can, with Child's Play 3 right there I don't know) and that's why it's hard for me to say I enjoy it in mixed company. But I do. It's not scary in the slightest, but Chucky hasn't been scary since the first film, if he ever was. The best you can hope for at this point is some funny jokes and nasty gore. This has both and that's why I like it.
30% on RT: Screamers (1995)
It's perfect B-movie cheese in all the good ways. Peter Weller stars as the lead soldier of a resistance group on planet Sirius 6B. They're on a planet where robots are that we created are evolving into killers let out loud high-pitch screams when going after a target, and rapidly become Terminators disguised as people. This movie is everything Terminator Salvation should have been, with maybe a little bit more camp than that movie had. It's certainly as close to Robocop vs Terminator as we're ever going to get.
But there's lots of great lines, particularly from Weller (who is just wonderful here). He is really the only character given development except for The Bad Guy and The Love Interest. The bad guy here is so obvious that I think it's supposed to be. No red herrings in this one. Anyway, if you like your sci-fi horror with a good side of cheese then this is for you because there's a lot of it. It's just really fun, a lot more fun than perhaps it should be, but that's part of the charm. Look at it this way: Thanks to the Total Recall remake it's certainly not the worst movie based on something by Phillip K. Dick.
29% on RT: Pet Sematary Two (1992)
There was a time when I hated this movie. As a loyal Stephen King fan, I think I have every reason to. It's an obvious cash-in of a really great horror film adaptation of a great King novel. But over the years it's grown on me for one reason and one reason only: Clancy "Lex Luthor" Brown. I'm surprised there is a shred of scenery left after his performance in this movie. Instead of playing the resurrected Sheriff as a evil force, he sort of just hams it up and plays him as a funny asshole. He still does terrible things, but considering our "heroes" are Anthony Edwards and Edward Furlong I'm definitely on Gus' side.
That's really the only reason I've grown to like this movie. The acting from most of the cast is mediocre at best and the obvious write-off of the Creeds in the opening (Oh by the way, Ellie snapped and is locked away) is a little irritating. But man, once Gus is killed and resurrected, it becomes a fun ride that really had no reason to be entertaining.
25% on RT: House of Wax (2005)
This is one remake that I happen to enjoy and everyone else hates it. I enjoy both prior versions (the 1933 Lionel Atwill film and the later 1953 remake with Vincent Price) but this remake is also kind of good. Not that I would ever admit it to anyone outside of right now. When I first saw the trailer for this, I too wondered who the hell thought it was a good idea to cast Paris Hilton in anything. While she is very, very bad in this movie, she gets arguably the best death in the whole thing when she has a pole rammed through her skull. It's like, a metaphor or something.
But this movie also has a cool-looking killer (just don't think too hard about the back story) and an early appearance from Sam Winchester himself, Jared Padalecki, sporting the wussiest goatee I think I've ever seen. House of Wax isn't bad in my opinion, it just doesn't live up to the scary original (and the other remake) and is a run-of-the-mill slasher. Which seems to be the kiss of death in today's horror world.
21% on RTDr. Giggles (1992)
It's a funny thing about the Internet. There are certain movies that I loved growing up that I only found out people hated once I came onto the web and searched for them. Dr. Giggles is one of them. What is there to hate about Larry Drake hamming it up and spitting out medical pun after medical pun while killing people in cartoonish fashion? You do realize that Dr. Giggles isn't meant to be taken seriously, right? No, it doesn't matter what you say, it wasn't. The man kills another person with a giant band-aid. Any argument you have about it trying to be anything more than a parody of slashers is invalid.
However, this does have one scene that really bothered me as a kid, and still kind of does now: Dr. Giggles' back story. For those who haven't seen it, Giggles' father was killed by a mob for ripping out patients' hearts to bring back his wife. To save his son, he actually sews him inside his dead wife's corpse. This is revealed through a flashback when a cop sees the boy cutting his way out of his own dead mother. That's the only scene that isn't funny, and it's also really disturbing.
21% on RT: Jason X (2002)
It wasn't that long ago that I wrote about this movie, so I'm going to cheat and post that again. If you're bothered by that, sorry, but my thoughts haven't changed since then.
God help me, I love Jason X. Yes, it's a stupid movie. Yes, there's almost nothing redeemable about it. Jason in space sounds like an easy concept but with even dumber characters than normal, an awful score (the New Line movies really had trouble finding an appropriate score) and outright bizarre moments (like the nipple twisting scene), they somehow screw it up. Badly. But I can't help it.
I love Jason X. I love the fact the characters are dumb, I love the fact Jason gets his ass kicked by a S&M android only to turn into UberJason, and I love the fact the only way they can kill him is through planet re-entry. This movie is just so over-the-top and ridiculous that it goes from being an awfully bad movie to an awesomely bad movie.
To add to that, it does have one of the best deaths in the entire franchise, and one of Kane Hodder's personal favorites. Who are you to argue with Kane? He'll choke you. I've seen it happen. I've felt it happen.
20% on RTSlashers (2001)
The chances are very good that you've never heard of this movie. I won't blame you if you haven't, it's an obscure direct-to-video movie that never made a blip on anyone's radar. Those who did see it didn't seem to like it very much...except for me. Since it's a direct-to-video movie, it's obviously not meant to be anything more than "a bloody good time" and I'm okay with that. The plot, what little there is, is about a reality TV show in which victims have to survive an encounter with the titular slashers in order to win money. Yes, it's a combination of The Running Man and Battle Royale with lots of B-movie cheese.
But this movie has a lot to enjoy. It pokes fun at reality TV before it was a really big deal. There is the concept of a "love room", which sees contestants have sex in order to gain immunity (that's not the way slasher movies work but we'll ignore that). There's also other little neat tricks like the contestants not being able to move during a commercial break or the camera man following them refusing to help no matter what happens. It's an interesting and fun, if incredibly stupid horror movie and that's why I'm a fan. It's sorta kinda rare, in that it's hard to get a new copy for less than $30, but if you can find it on the cheap I recommend giving it a shot.
18% on RT: The Happening (2008)
Remember how I said above I wouldn't list Troll 2 because it is being accepted as the "so bad it's good" masterpiece it truly is? Well, The Happening isn't quite there yet. It will be, in time, but right now even saying it's "so bad it's good" is enough to get people to shake their heads in your general direction. In my personal opinion, this movie is the Troll 2 of our generation. There are certain movies that are bad with maybe some unintentional laughs but otherwise forgettable. This movie is the best comedy of 2008.
I'd love it if M. Night Shyamalan were some sort of genius who knew to make a movie like this but that's not the case. I wouldn't be surprised if that were discovered one day. Mark Wahlberg talks to plants. An old woman is convinced that she's going to get murdered in her sleep when she lets them stay. They run from the air. I just don't see how you can watch this movie and not get some enjoyment out of it. Sure, it's not the kind of enjoyment anyone involved intended but my God...THEY RUN FROM AIR.
That's it for me. Which horror films are guilty pleasures for you? Leave some comments here on or my Twitter. Next week, I look at superhero movies. Don't worry, I'm looking at the darker heroes to make it into film. I'm not going mainstream on you guys yet.
Closing Logo courtesy of Kyle Morton (get your own custom artwork and commissions at his Etsy account)
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