Honorable Mentions: Are You Scared 2 (2009), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Pig Hunt (2008), Rottweiler (2004), The Slaughterhouse Massacre (2005), The Strangers (2008), Prom Night (2008), Mr. Hell (2006), Night of the Living Dead 3D (2006), The Shining (1980)
5. Jeepers Creepers (2001)
This horror flick, written and directed by Victor Salva, has a good cast and plenty of atmosphere. It also looks great. The problem with it is it isn't scary. It's just boring as hell. I mean, you've got a cool looking villain in the Creeper, but for some reason he's whistling fucking "Jeepers Creepers." Why the hell is he doing that? It just doesn't make any sense. I still haven't seen the sequel. I just can't bring myself to it.
4. Sweatshop (2009)
This low budget sort of slasher movie makes absolutely no sense. I have no idea why anything is happening and the movie never really makes any effort to make me care. It also drags on forever. There's barely 50 minutes worth of story in the movie and yet it goes on for 90 minutes, which actually feels like three hours. The killer, a hulking weirdo that wears a welder's mask and wields a giant hammer, is pretty cool, and the last five minutes of the movie are a special effects tour-de-force. I just wish the rest of the movie had that same kind of energy and coolness. We could have had a modern horror masterpiece on our hands. What we end up with, sadly, is a complete waste of time and energy. What a waste of a good killer.
3. Jennifer's Body (2009)
Jennifer's Body can best be described as a horror movie made by people who either don't like horror movies or don't quite understand why horror movies work. Very little of the movie works. The cast is pretty decent and the general idea has merit but just about every choice made by director Karyn Kusama and writer Diablo Cody fails. I mean, why isn't Megan Fox's Jennifer supremely evil? Why isn't she chewing the scenery and flaunting her sexuality? Why isn't she destroying men on screen? Where the fuck is the blood, man? Where's the goddamn nudity? Where's the sleaze? Where's the steamy lesbian scene? We do get a sort of lesbian kissing scene but it's just... lame. And what the hell is the ending about? Jennifer's Body is an abomination, a disgrace, a supremely missed opportunity. Avoid it at all costs.
2. The Terror (1963)
This Roger Corman directed horror flick is both a must see and a relentless bore. It's a must see because it's an old Corman movie, Boris Karloff is in it, and it features Jack Nicholson in one of his first starring roles. Dick Miller is in it, too, and that's always cool. But the movie, made with used sets for very little money, just goes on and on forever. Karloff is the only one that gives a relatively good performance, and even he can't save it from being incredibly bad. And that's a shame because, had Corman and company spent more time on it, maybe had a better script, the movie could have been kind of fun. As it is, it's just an exercise in cinematic tedium.
You should see it anyway, though, if you haven't. Just to say that you saw it.
1. Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966)
Manos: The Hands of Fate is an amazingly bad movie that never gets any better with repeat viewing. It exists in a constant state of badness that makes you openly question the need for anyone to make a movie ever again. I mean, if there's a chance that you, as a moviemaker, could end up with a movie half as bad as Manos maybe you shouldn't tempt fate, you know? The movie makes no sense, it goes on forever, and is poorly made. It does contain a few creepy moments, sure (the ending, where the little girl ends up as a part of the demonic cult and one of the villain's wives, is messed up), but those moments are just too few and far between. I will say, though, that if you do manage to get through Manos in one piece you will be able to get through anything. Even Neil Johnson movies.
UN-Honorable Mentions: I won't lie - I had TONNES of fun this week coming up with this list. I like Joss Whedon's sci-fi work but he should stay away from horror after his weak script for Alien Resurrection and whilst I do like the twists, The Cabin In The Woods isn't that great with his pulling back of the curtain of horror movies take on the "Older Ones" & Cthulu mythos. I get the appeal of The Human Centipede but it's simply not that much of a horror film. World War Z is only a horror film of how boring and much a waste of money it was.
Recent releases from the genre haven't been too kind either. Yet another reboot/sequel/thing in Texas Chainsaw 3-D highlights the creative bankruptcy of constantly trying to squeeze a film property dry in modern western cinema. Similarly, the constant repeat of the same thing over and over again of cheap budget, massive box office films like any Saw movie past the third and Paranormal Activity 2 onwards in that franchise has led to some dull, replicate sequels for the pile. Video game adaptations have left themselves pretty open to add to it too. Silent Hill: Revelation 3D was a dire follow up to a decent and genuinely interesting acclimatization of the foggy town cum occult series and whilst I applaud the attempt of doing a horror in the daylight, Resident Evil: Extinction is filled with ridiculous Mary Sue and stupid moments.
Here in the UK, we only had a small chance to catch Mystery Science Theatre 3000 but those choice cuts we were treated to offered some of the worst B-level science fiction, fantasy and horrors I've ever witnessed. One of the numerous rip offs of the uber successful Gremlins, Hobgoblins has to be seen to be believed. A ludicrous plot where a 20 something whose trying to live up to his girlfriend's expectations accidentally releases a bunch of the titular scaley critters who have the power to make people's dreams come true through illusions with bad results. I'd be lying if I said if it didn't have it's charm, but outside of the hypnotic "so bad it's good" appeal, there's a weird trying to be sexy vibe all the way through, a distracting subplot leading to some hilarious fake fights and the acting only gets you so far. I can see what the makers were going for with a more horror focused rip on Gremlins which fails miserably and Hobgoblins is certainly stupid yet it's so damn entertaining to watch, you don't really care you're watching a bad movie.
4. Alone In The Dark
Ah, German director Uwe Boll. You're ripe to have a slot here. Famed for his poor video game movie screen-to-screen translations, his crack at supernatural horror Alone In The Dark is especially terrible. Just look at that CG monster. That is the height of quality in this film. A confusing plot moves from twist to twist with terrible action scenes interspersed through out - all of this led by a confused yet eager to try Christian Slater. There's a shootout in the dark with some of the worst bullet lighting I have ever seen. The fact that this film exists and there are sequels makes me a little bit ashamed to be both a video game and horror film fan as this is Uwe Boll trying to pay tribute to yet another game series and failing... hard. Oh and there's an awkward sex scene between Slater & Tara Reid which could very well be the low point of both their careers.
3. Resident Evil: Apocalypse
What do you get, when you have a fanboy movie director who takes a video game franchise and trashes it's big screen potential, just to get his girlfriend and future wife over? Why, it's Resident Evil: Apocalypse of course. It's not the fact that director Paul W.S. Anderson ruins this good work from the first movie that annoys me the most. I can almost tolerate the mid 00's lenience on shouty bands like Drowning Pool, the merc who throws himself off a helicopter without attaching himself to a bungee so his buddy has to scramble to it and the proper castration of the Nemesis monster. No, there are two things here that grind my gears. One is that this is the proper start of Alice becoming a real Mary Sue type with her being the prettiest, the bestest and the brillantest of all the characters involved that everyone needs to look up to. Two is "what yield?"
2. The Incredibly Strange Creatures That Stopped Living And Became Mixed-Up Zombies
Another one straight from the MST3K vault and boy what a stinker. Even fans of camp and "so bad it's good" will be left feeling awkward here. Promoting itself as the world's first monster musical, it fails to live up to the sheer radness of how that sounds. Instead we get a dreary plot of carnival sideshows and slow builds to a change from human to monster. The promised zombies show up at very end and we have numerous pointless musical interludes with singing burlesque girls in the name of titulation. Admittedly, it is neat to see a horror from the 1960's but at the same time it's a product of the period & it's not what you want from a horror film. Worst of all, I know it's on a ridiculously small budget but simply put - this is the worse lighting I have ever seen in a film. There's moments later on in the film and you honestly don't have a clue what's going on it's that black on screen. Terrible.
1. The Blair Witch Project
Yeah this one. You can blame The Blair Witch Project for the numerous imitators we get today for below average horror movies after it's runaway success. Whilst it was at the time a refreshing change from the usual glossier, special effects-laden horror movies, the raw essence of a "found footage" documentary doesn't exactly mean it looks watchable. A film built around the build with not very much happening in the mean time and having a very slow build with a not particularly engaging cast will leave you cursing the fact that the video camera used has such an extraordinary battery life. I feel that the film and it's legacy has built itself up way too much. Entirely sold by hype, the ending cannot possibly live up to anyone's expectations and as such convenience interferes and the film ends before we possibly see what the witch could possibly be or what she does to people for giggles. I remember seeing the end for the first time and just sat there for a good minute before thinking "...really?" Serious case of overhype derailing any kind of critical insight into a poor trendsetter.
Troll 2 - The cliched answer for the "worst horror film of all time." It is indeed terrible, but in that "it's so bad it's good" sort of way.
The Exorcist 2 - The Heretic - Again another stock answer and a deserved one. This one probably would have made the list proper, but I haven't seen it in a very long time and when I did I was in the depths of my heavy drinking days, so my memory is a bit fuzzy to say the least. Probably a good thing when thinking of this film.
There are a lot of terrible horror films out there. You could make a list like this every year. Rather than plumbing the depths, I'm just going to scratch the surface on a few recent films that are absolutely terrible.
5. Rise Of The Zombies (2013)
I hesitate to put this on because it's an Asylum film and by nature all Asylum films are terrible. But this one gets a place simply for having the audacity to try and pull of Ethan Suplee - Action Hero. Now, don't get me wrong. I really like Suplee. He's extremely funny in My Name is Earl. He's part of the View Askewniverse and Boy Meets World. That should get him cart blanche right? Sorry. It doesn't. Not when coupled with some of the other BS this film tries to pull. Danny Trejo, who is usually awesome, has nothing more than an extended cameo just so he can be used on the DVD box. But I guess that's better than putting (third billed) LeVarr Burton on the box. Add in plot lines that go nowhere, some of the worst musical cues in film history, the use of the word "Rise" (which is the new "extreme" for some reason) despite there being no actual rising, and the asinine practice of making red blood black in order to get the film on television (it was made for SyFy)and you have everything you need to make a terrible film.
4. Nurse 3D (2014)
Simply put, (but I'm sure I'll get long winded anyway), this film is a mess. It never knows what it wants to be. Sexy, psychological thriller? Righteous serial killer film? Soft core pornography? In truth it really doesn't matter what it is. It's just bad. The film tries to be avant garde. It tries to shocking. It's really just cringe worthy and laughable. Contrast the film to The Soska Twins' American Mary a film that treads on similar tropes thematically. That film, although not perfect, at least knows when to show restraint and is buoyed by a strong performance form the usually wonderful Katherine Isabelle. Nurse is the exact opposite. It pushes lowest common denominator buttons to extract a reaction. Paz De La Hertas' acting(?) is terrible. The 3D gimmick is useless unless you desperately need to see a 3D version of De la Huertas labia. Ugh. I need a shower after just writing about it.
3. The Dead Want Women (2012)
This one really hurts because Charles Band is better than this. He's head and shoulders better than this. I don't know what the thought process was when Full Moon greenlit the film. Check out the trailer above - this movie was shot in 2012! In short, a silent movie star kills herself and a bunch of other folks because the industries are moving to "talkies" and her voice is weird. Except her voice isn't weird. They couldn't even go through the trouble of making the actress talk funny. She uses a perfectly acceptable voice when talking. And that's the least ridiculous part of the story. A ghost mails a letter to tow ditzy real estate agents convincing them he can purchase the house that the starlet killed everyone in. How a ghost buys stamps, let alone gets the post office is beyond me. Just when your head explodes from trying to figure that out, Eric Roberts shows up in a Halloween mask and convinces the ghosts to rape the real estate agents. Like I said Charles Band is better than this. We all are.
2. Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines (2012)
We are a long way from perky little Eliza Dushku and Quinn from Dexter hiding out in a ranger tower fearing for their lives. Hell, we are miles away from Henry Rollins and Joe Lynch on the set of "Ultimate Survivor: Apocalypse" in Wrong Turn 2. Needless to say the quality of the Wrong Turn franchise had deteriorated tremendously over the course of the previous two sequels. But those terrible sequels aside, nothing could prepare anyone for the shit show that is Wrong Turn 5. By this point in the series the template had been set for the films. Thin characters, ridiculous situations, and some pretty neat kills. That's no exception here as some of the kills are pretty good. But the script. Holy crap, you would think they would have siphoned some money from the Karo Syrup budget to get someone to craft a comprehensible narrative. Not even Doug Bradley chewing scenery can save this film from the morass it resides in. If the script was only issue perhaps, just perhaps, I could give it a pass, but when the inbred hicks have masks that look like they were purchased from the WalMart clearance bin, it's just too much. Fun Fact: Did you know that not one, but two members of the cast of Game of Thrones are in this film?
1. Hellraiser: Revelations (2011)
A movie born out nothing but pure greed. Here's a brief summary. Dimension Films own the rights to the 'Hellraiser' franchise. There is a clause in their rights contract that should Dimension fail to exercise their rights, i.e. make a Hellraiser film, in a certain amount of time, said rights would revert back to the copyrights original owner - creator Clive Barker. As the rights reversion date approached, Dimension panicked, they didn't want to lose the possibility of a lucrative remake or reboot of the franchise, but they didn't have a Hellraiser film ready to go. So what we get is a Hellraiser film essentially thrown together in three weeks, written by a guy who's previous experience was creating a few Hellraiser fan films (I guess Rick Bota was busy). A film so shoddy that Doug Bradley, the man who had shepherded the franchise through the lowest of the low (Kari Wuhrer) refused to return as the iconic Pinhead. He instead chose to appear in Wrong Turn 5. Talk about a Sophies' choice. A total disaster of a film. With Bradley refusing to come back, Pinhead became the Pillsbury Dough Boy in a bad Halloween outfit. Foreign actors accents change depending on the scene. And to top it all off the two families in the film? Their surnames are...Bradley and Craven...as in Doug and Wes. Screenwriting amateur hour folks. That's what greed gets you.