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Maitland McDonagh – The Ten Worst Horror Movies of the Decade

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Like beauty, bad is in the eye of the beholder. Some people love the Texas Chain Saw Massacre remake. I think it’s predictable, tedious and thoroughly forgettable. But the forgettable part means it doesn’t get a place on my list of the worst movies of the ’00s. That’s the difference between bad, and really, really bad. These ten movies are burned into my brain, and nothing I do will make them go away. Kind of like the bogeyman (but not The Boogeyman, thank you very much).

10. Sarah Landon and the Paranormal Hour (2007)
I feel really mean laying into this well-intentioned, kid-friendly ghost story that’s as independent as indie features get. But it’s terrible. The story is simultaneously complicated and dull, the photography is unpleasantly soft and the acting ranges from OK-for-a-student-movie to plain unwatchable.

9. Bloodrayne (2006)
What worst-of list would be complete without an Uwe Boll movie based on a video game? Especially one that features Sir Ben Kingsley besmirching the memory of his Oscar-winning work in Gandhi. No number of scantily clad Kristanna Loken shots is enough to make up for the sheer dullness of this action-horror movie about a half-breed vampire slayer and her run-ins with a who’s who of B-list actors, from Michael Madsen to Billy Zane.

8. Hellraiser: Deader (2005)
What makes this one worse than other late-game Hellraiser sequels? That it wasn’t even a Hellraiser sequel. Deader was an existing script rewritten to work the cenobites into its story of a reporter investigating a suicide cult. Pinhead and company deserve better.

7. Jason X (2002)
Hey, let’s have Jason Voorhees slaughter people on a spaceship. In like, the future! Note to self: Do not try to wring one last sequel from a played-out horror franchise by adding a holo-deck and an ass-kicking android babe. Go straight to the reboot: Familiar and formulaic beat mind-numbingly stupid.

6. Mother of Tears: La Terza Madre (2007)
Dario Argento’s nightmarish Suspiria and Inferno rank with the high-water marks of the heyday of Italian horror. But the long-awaited — more than 25 years — conclusion of his “Three Mothers” trilogy is a crude, clumsy gorefest. It doesn’t even look good.

5. Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006)
No gag is too obvious, no gross-out too disgusting and no pun too lame… of course, that describes pretty much any Troma movie. But the formula has grown pretty thin, and this tale of restless Native American souls wreaking vengeance through the fast-food joint heedlessly built atop an old cemetery is just juvenile and crass.

4. The Happening (2008)
The low point of one-time wunderkinder M. Night Shyamalan’s idiotic variation on The Crazies is probably Mark Wahlberg talking to a plastic plant, but there are many contenders. Note to future makers of “nature fights back” movies: It’s really, really hard to make plants menacing because they’re, you know, rooted to the ground.

3. Van Helsing (2004)
The soulless, effects-heavy, overhyped version of old-time monster movie mashups like House of Frankenstein, this extravaganza throws everything, including an A-list cast topped by Hugh Jackman, into an adrenaline-junkie’s wet dream of a vampire-slayer movie. Obviously positioned as the start of a franchise, but no one clamored for more.

2. Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)
Granted, it never stood a chance: Trying to duplicate the The Blair Witch Project‘s low-tech, amateur-movie vibe was impossible — you can only play that card once. But despite an admittedly clever idea — opportunists exploiting Blair Witch mania get a bitter lesson in letting sleeping evil lie — Book of Shadows is a forgettable footnote to the horror phenomenon of the ’90s.

1. The Wicker Man (2006)
By far the worst movie of the decade by virtue of its off-the-chart ratio of good material (the 1974 cult classic, written by Anthony Schaffer) and promising talent (writer-director Neal LaBute, Oscar-winner Ellen Burstyn) to execrable outcome. Wicker Man served notice that Nicolas Cage’s sweaty, pop-eyed antics can ruin just about anything.


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