Horror fans — or at least this horror fan — cannot live by quality cinema alone. Sure, genre movies that make you think or leave you cowering limply under the covers are all well and good. But sometimes you just need to turn off your brain and have a laugh… and what’s better for a laugh than a bad horror movie?
Granted, there’s a fine line between a good bad movie and a just plain bad bad movie; the former will forever have a place in your heart, while the latter is less a movie than a soul-sucking black hole that makes you regret the moment you took the DVD remote in your sweaty hand and pressed “play.” The quest to find the best bad movies takes you into scary waters, and there are inevitably more misses than hits. But I’m here to take your hand and introduce you to ten horribly awesome horrors I like to call “friends.”
The Car (1977)
One fine day, a big black luxury sedan emerges from a plume of dust and begins mowing down the denizens of a sleepy little New Mexico town. Is there a wackadoo behind the wheel or is the car itself possessed? The world may never know… unless Sheriff James Brolin and his mighty beard can figure out who’s honking whom!
Day of the Animals (1977)
Before his untimely death at the tender age of 30, writer/director William Girdler brought horror fans some of the best crap to ever grace the screen. I could tell you all about this movie — hole in the ozone this, animals go berserk that — but all you really need to know is that a shirtless Leslie Nielsen wrestles a bear in the rain. Top that, WWE!
The Manitou (1978)
The second Girdler effort on this list simply must be seen with one’s very own eyes; mere words can’t describe the outrageousness that springs (literally) from the back of Susan Strasberg after she discovers that what’s growing there ain’t no lump — it’s a fetus! Tony Curtis joins her battle against the Manitou (a Native-American spiritual entity filtered through an exploitation movie lens), and we bear witness to naked women shooting laser beams, midget medicine-men, floating elderly women and decapitations. Good times!
The Pit (1981)
Sleazy 12-year-old Jamie discovers a pit full of troglodytes in the woods and does what any sleazy 12-year-old would do: He pushes all of his enemies into it. Old or young, nice or mean… into the pit they go. Mind you, it’s not necessarily Jamie’s fault: His possessed teddy bear told him to!
Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 (1987)
No need to worry if you haven’t seen original killer-Santa movie Silent Night, Deadly Night, because it’s recapped in detail in the sequel. In fact, Part 2 is a lot like the original (mean old nuns, Santa Claus-flavored killer) only worse, which I mean in the best possible way. As Ricky, lead actor Eric Freeman delivers one of the best bad performances you’ll ever see… you’ll never look at garbage day the same way again.
Dolly Dearest (1991)
I’m a sucker for killer doll movies… an absolute sucker, I tell you! So Dolly Dearest was a member of my family before it was born. Lucky for me, it lives up to all my expectations, featuring a child who speaks in tongues, stop-motion doll shenanigans, slumming celebrities (Denise Crosby, Rip Torn) and a housekeeper who knows there’s evil afoot but can’t get anyone to believe her! Blatant Child’s Play knock-offs don’t come any better!
I shouldn’t write about Rumpelstiltskin, because just typing the title makes me want to watch it. Trust me when I say this movie lives on that line I mentioned earlier, balanced precariously between “awesome” and “kill me please.” It has amazing moments, in particular, the one where we’re expected to believe a remote control car is real. But here’s the thing: You may be watching the clock while you’re watching ol’ Rumpy, but the moment it’s over you want to watch again. Rumpelstiltskin has some diabolical powers of persuasion. Even now I’m thinking about the DVD sitting on my shelf…
House on Haunted Hill (1999)
The bad rap accorded Dark Castle, which has remade most of producer/director William Castle’s movies, isn’t entirely undeserved. They’re churned out some stinkers, of which House on Haunted Hill may or may not be the exception… add up the obvious CGI, gore galore, senseless plot and scene-chewing performances and see what you think. Me, I have a feeling the actors just may be in on the joke…
A creature feature made largely without CGI can only mean one thing: Foam rubber monsters! Thrill to the exploits of the science folk as they run from giant rubber spiders and don’t let the fact that Arachnid was directed by genre veteran Jack Sholder fool you — it’s craptacular. But it’s the kind of craptacular that will have you jumping for joy when it pops up on late-night cable.
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon (2002)
I know I’ve mentioned this film numerous times, but Shark Attack 3 demands that sort of attention. It may just be the best bad movie ever made. Ever. Were I to list the reasons it deserves the crown we’d be here forever, so just take my word for it. Or don’t: Rent it and revel in the stock footage and superimposed images yourself. Trust me. Have I ever lied to you?
Some might call them guilty pleasures, but I say nay! What is there to feel guilty about — if loving them is wrong, I don’t want to be right!
Come on, people! Tell us how you feel about these movies then share your so-bad-it’s-good movie memories below!
A fan of horror movies and scary stuff, Stacie Ponder started her blog Final Girl so she’d have a platform from which she could tell everyone that, say, Friday the 13th, Part 2 rules. She leads a glamorous life, walking on the razor’s edge of danger and intrigue.Read More