Horror is a peculiar genre, isn’t it? It encompasses all sorts of films Most people will only talk about the spectacular ones and the duds. The duds often drip with so many aspects that would make a film inexcusably unforgivable.
But you know us Horror Fiends… We will grasp onto those duds – because even though their quality may not be at levels of, say, The Shining or Scream, we are able to see the heart and passion behind them. It’s because of that passion that we embrace these so-called duds, and find the good in them.
Traditionally, the best way to describe these passionate duds are the films that are so bad, they’re good. And I’m here typing these words to give you 10 of these films that are strictly – by my opinion – so bad that they’re good.
10. Monster High (1989)
Monster High is the epitome of B-movie horror fun. Just reading the plot premise, you’re sure to cock your head to the side and utter a “Huh.” A demonic force, Mr. Apocalypse, is behind two aliens who travel to earth to destroy it. They summon many creatures to aid in their takeover, and the final battle between the high school kids and the monsters to decide the fate of the world is a basketball game. Huh.
What are these creatures that the high schoolers have to battle? You get your standard zombie, a stoned gargoyle come to life, and a computer gone haywire, but the insanity begins when a pair of sneakers joins the fray as well as a supersized bud of pot. Yes, a bud of pot is on the attack. I genuinely cannot express the crazy that this movie exudes, and it’s glorious.
9. The Mummy (2017)
I stand firmly in that, whilst it was no legit horrifying experience as a Universal Classic Monster movie should be, The Mummy is one heck of a fun film. I will give two examples. The first being the plane escape. That set piece is pretty tense. While Tom Cruise’s facial expressions goofed up the scene a bit, it added to a weird charm that can be found. Speaking of weird charm, here is example 2. Jake Johnson’s Vail should have been that annoying sidekick character, but instead, added to that weird charm. Extra points for making his character one of those that come back from the dead to aid his bestie with the turmoil going on a la An American Werewolf in London.
The Mummy may not be the best film it could have been, but it made up for it with a heavy dose of F-U-N and some damn good set pieces.
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8. Hobgoblins (1988)
Topping the list of small, havoc-wreaking creature films, is Gremlins. At the bottom.. is Hobgoblins. Dear heavens, is this film a mess. I will not vouch for the first 25 minutes-or-so where you have to deal with horrible acting, too much exposition for characters that you have no care for, and a way-too-long “battle of the balls” between two male characters using garden tools as weapons.
I will vouch for the remainder of the film — where expressionless puppets run around doing things that the Gremlins and Crites already did, but doing it on such a cheap budget that it’s endearing. The third act that takes place in a bar on the bad side of town (yet is full of brightly clothed, preppy looking people from the 80’s) is such a glorious treat thanks to a beehive haired cocktail waitress named Pixie (Kari French), the out of place emcee (Daran Norris), and people flying through the air long before the “explosions” from grenades occur. Such a glorious mess.
7. Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf (1985)
The first sequel to The Howling set a standard for the numerous sequels that would follow in the franchise. That standard? To go batsh*t crazy, and do whatever could be done to possibly outdo the prior sequel. None of them manage to outshine Howling II. I would like to give 90% of that glory to Sybil Danning. The werewolves have a queen, and her name is Stirba. Danning’s Stirba is 100% glorious camp.
Tack onto Danning’s performance the medieval witchcraftery that is a part of these werewolves history, a werewolf threesome, and the lovable hunter, Vasille (Jiri Krytinár), and you have yourself one good time.
6. The Happening (2008)
I’ll admit that I was in the boat of thinking that The Happening was just a terrible film. A recent rewatch had me do a complete one-eighty. M. Night Shyamalan had a lot to say about climate control in a period where it wasn’t as discussed as much as it is now. Having plant life using the wind to carry toxic chemicals that drove people to commit heinous acts against themselves? That’s some hardcore retribution.
Zooey Deschanel’s eyes and Mark Wahlberg’s teeth did most of the acting here so when we talk about bad, I’m sure that is included. Even if their willing sacrifice for each other at the end may trigger those who hate the lovey-dovey mushy stuff, you can’t help be possibly “Aaaw” at the scene. And perhaps throughout the course of the movie, you can’t help by cheer on the killer wind..?
5. The Video Dead (1987)
Within The Video Dead, zombies rise out of a cursed television set. But that’s not all. These zombies have some of the most complex rules that are so over the top that even they don’t adhere to them. It’s as if the zombies said “F your rules, writer,” and did exactly what they wanted. And that’s why I fell in love with this odd little diddy.
The leading lady, Roxanna Augensen as Zoe, was also very charismatic. Her arc – word used loosely – was the best out of the characters, and although her outwitting the zombies was a little silly, Augensen took what she was doing in stride. Watch for a scene within the film where a zombie bride pops out of a washing machine, and then stuffs a housewife into said washing machine, and this kills her.
4. Ticks (1993)
Is Ticks actually a bad movie? Ask most horror fans, and the response will be that it is absolutely not. Ask anyone else, and they’ll nod, and brush off your idea of a good film. But c’mon, there is absolutely so much to find good in Ticks.
The practical special effects are gooey and effective. 90’s staples Ami Dolenz (Pumpinhead II: Blood Wings), Seth Green (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and Alfonso Ribeiro (Fresh Prince of Bel Air) are in it. Then there’s Clint Howard being messy, and yelling a whole lot. Whenever someone mentions Ticks, Howard’s face bulging with ticks is the first image that pops in my mind. It’s almost iconic.
3. Terrorvision (1986)
Terrorvision is so essentially 80’s, that it almost causes the world to turn back into the 80’s if anyone is watching. It’s a mixture of Amblin style fun and schlocky shenanigans.
A mixed satellite TV signal brings an alien into a suburban home, and said alien wrecks havoc, and falls in love with rock music. It’s up to two siblings, their military obsessed grandpa, the sister’s headbanging boyfriend, and a horror TV host (lovingly ripping off of Elvira) to stop the alien before it’s too late. The alien in Terrorvision is an amped version of ET in both appearance and character. I dare you to not fall in love with him as his infatuation for pizza, tv, and rock music evolves, and even moreso when he devours each character with delight.
2. Slumber Party Massacre II (1987)
It’s an actual continuation of the first Slumber Party Massacre, but it is absolutely nothing like it. Well, there’s a slumber party, and there are deaths. But gone is the grip on reality, and replacing it is a Nightmare on Elm Street rip-off. There are few horrible Nightmare rips throughout the late eighties, and some may place SPMII with them. Not this guy.
The film is one of the funniest slashers in existence, The characters are so bumbling stupid that they come off endearing and – at times – truly hilarious. The Driller Killer (Atanas Ilitch) definitely made his mark as a Krueger stand in. His random bursts into songs and rhymes were incredibly cheesy. And his choice weapon of a phallic electric guitar drill? That’s classic. Call me crazy, but I want one to mount on my wall.
1. Evil Ed (1995)
Evil Ed is a love letter. A sweet, sweet love letter written to the Swedish equivalent to America’s MPAA. Imagine throwing in every possible horrible aspect of horror to give it to the man, and you are blessed with Evil Ed. The titular character is a film editor who must redo entries of the gruesome and overtly sexist Loose Limbs franchise so that they can be distributed all over Europe. In doing so, the gore and sex that he sees while editing begins to really get to him. So much so that it bleeds over into his real life.
There is some great Evil Dead tributing going on within Evil Ed (even the title), and the creature designs are truly great. Yet the dubbing is terrible, the acting is terrible, but the absolute absurdity that the film drips with is top notch horror loving.
Remember, Fiends. Opinions are the greatest thing that we can have in the horror community. What may be bad to some will be a treasure to others. If you do a listen to someone as they explain why a “bad” horror film may be “good,” they may just open your heart to something that you previously didn’t see.