Oh, the horror.
One of the unique things about horror fans is the amount of pure unadulterated garbage that we put up with each year. There are probably more horror films put out every year than all other genres combined. From big Hollywood spectacles down to lowest no-budget indie film, the horror genre is popular precisely because it is so accessible. Anybody can make one. Grab some friends, pick up some corn syrup and food coloring, follow an established template and boom…you’ve got yourself a horror movie. Because of this ease of creation, there is so much bad in horror. It’s almost an impossibility to create a “definitive” worst list because, frankly, there are so many pieces of garbage out there that nobody can honestly say they’ve seen them all. Just a list of the 10 no-budget home videos that have been released in the past month would work.
But you expect those movies to suck, so in my mind, a true “worst of the year” listing has got to take into account other factors. Films with lots of hype. Films with high expectations that didn’t deliver. Big name franchises known for quality that were sullied by sequels. It’s easy to pile on some no name filmmaker who made a $500 shit film, but filmmakers who actually have the resources, actors, and clout; people we expect to make something decent; those films are truly worthy of a “worst film” label.
So, below are my top 10 worst horror films of the year. There were certainly worse films in a technical sense, but these were the films I felt to be total abject failures
I did a review for this film a while back. I wasn’t hot on it the first time that I saw it and the more I think about it the worse the film becomes. It isn’t a total waste of time like the other films on this list, but I rank it as certainly one of the most overhyped, overrated and disappointing films of the year. This isn’t even really a horror movie so some may take exception that it’s included on this list. That probably factors into it. It was marketed heavily as a certain type of film and it turns out to be something completely different. Unlike the other films on here, I wouldn’t say “Never watch this film. Ever.”, but I still consider it a big steaming pile of disappointment with a side of wannabe pretentiousness.
I’m sure 99% of everybody seeing this movie on my list is going “Well, duh” right now. I’m okay with that. I’m not going to apologize for liking the Puppet Master movies. And I’m certainly not going to apologize for telling Charles Band to go f*ck himself. It’s tough to make an, arguably, already unwatchable franchise even worse, but somehow Band managed to do it with this pathetic entry. It’s all here: the recycled footage, puppets that do nothing more than turn their heads menacingly, and David DeCoteau. Oh David DeCoteau. There were worse Full Moon movies released in the past couple of years, but nobody gives a shit about the Decadent Evil and Evil Bong‘s of the world. Even by Band’s non-existent standards, this was a big letdown. At least it’s not Legacy.
Oh boy. Legion is the story of a group of people trapped inside a diner as it it being besieged by angels. This movie definitely gets the award for worst CG fx in a horror film this year. Paul Bettany plays Michael, who cuts off his wings in order to help save a human chick who is preggers with humanity’s savior. See, God doesn’t like humans anymore, so he sends the angels to wipe them out. Why God can’t just snap his fingers and have that little shit aborted is never explained. In the end, angels fight WWE style and you are left with the impression that you’ve just watched a really bad video game. If you want to see this storyline done better, watch Supernatural.
I wasn’t a big fan of the first movie, but I didn’t hate it. The premise was cool, the vampires were insane, and there was lots of snow. Everybody loves snow in horror movies. Steve Niles returned to co-write the screenplay for the DTV sequel, so I was expecting, at the very least, a good story. What I got was a generic story about a group of vampire killers (angry that their family members were eaten!) trying to hunt down….wait for it…the Queen. With the aide of a vampire who has retained his humanity, the group head off into the mean streets of Los Angeles to kill vamps hiding out in the sewers and in ominous warehouses. The story is certainly stupid, but the casting and acting is a million times worse. Diora Baird, god bless her, plays this take no shit commando chick with an attitude and it’s ridiculous. There’s also this wonderful line when the main chick asks Baird what she keeps in her bra: “12 pounds of C-4.” Sigh. If you want to watch a bad DTV vampire flick that is entertaining, check out Lost Boys: The Thirst. Frog Brothers 4eva.
Everything that needs to be said about this movie has already been said via the various podcast debates and message board flame wars. It was a disappointment, yes. It didn’t live up to the original, obviously. The CG fx were atrocious, absolutely. But I think I was most disappointed in the lack of balls of the filmmakers. They had a really great opportunity to really remake Freddy’s origin by showing, yeah, he was actually innocent the whole time and these people torched him for nothing. The film leaned in that direction…and then pulled back with the double whammy: nevermind, he raped AND murdered the kids; he’s a really evil dude! Ugh. Nothing encapsulates Platinum Dunes and their view on horror more than this movie. And Jackie Earle Haley sucked. Stop making excuses. He sucked. You all know it.
Did Sparkles star in this movie? I swear that’s him. Anyway, this was part of Fangoria’s Frightfest lineup, a series of 8 DTV horror movies blatantly capitalizing off of the After Dark film series. Honestly, this year both series’ had some decent films. The Tomb was not one of them. Based loosely on the Poe story, this is about some writer who starts banging some chick who is stealing souls in order to live…or something. This movie is absolutely forgettable. From what I remember it was really, really boring and had some awful CG. Avoid it.
It’s Ando! This is a movie about a group of friends who get snowed in at a cabin in the woods while ghosts of cannibals may or may not be trying to get them to eat each other. I rented this because it had snow in it. And it was a horror movie. It’s very amateur with terrible acting and with lots of audio problems. Tiffany is in it. She must have got the Mega Piranha gig because of her brilliant work in this. I seem to remember there being a decent pair of breasts (not Tiffany’s) so I guess it had that going for it. I was supposed to do an interview with the director but decided to cancel it upon viewing the movie. I’m a dick like that. But hey, I watched his movie, so I consider us even.
Here’s my full review of Hatchet II. Without a doubt, this is the biggest disappointment I had, horror-wise, this year. I really like Adam Green’s flicks and enjoyed the hell out of the original Hatchet. This one is just a total mess. It’s sloppy, has terrible characters, and Danielle Harris delivers the worst performance of the year, in my opinion. Big, big letdown.
If you count unintentional entertainment value as a factor in rating a movie, then Animals shouldn’t even be on this list. It’s about a dude who gets bitten by this shapeshifting animal chick. They have lots of animal sex. Then the animal chick’s mean looking animal boyfriend shows up to fight the dude. Incredibly awful CG animal battles ensue. Words can’t adequately describe how absurd this movie is. It’s tries to be a sort of soft-core porn (fails, by the way), sci-fi channel, were-cat-thing monster movie. It’s truly bizarre and I was laughing through the entire thing. I mean, it’s bad. Really, really bad, but it transcends it’s badness by going into Ed Wood territory. And it takes itself completely seriously. There is an amazing sex scene in this as Nicki Aycox starts going to town on the hood of a guy’s car, which is parked in a scuzzy alley, in the middle of a rainstorm. He picks her up and slams her up against a brick wall as he eats her out as she writhes in animal ecstasy. I’m typing this and even I can’t believe the crap in this movie. It’s almost a must-see just for the absurdity.
Bar none, the worst film of the year. I like Tim Sullivan. I like the passion he displays for the genre. I didn’t love his 2001 Maniacs remake, but I thought it was ok. It had a very polished, produced look, had some good performances, and some good humor. I first encountered Field of Screams at Texas Frightmare Weekend. We did a bunch of interviews with the peeps from the film. Tim Sullivan had a diva moment during the screening of the “making of” documentary, but the cast and crew were super excited about the film. They did a good job selling it. Then I saw it and was flabbergasted (FLABBERGASTED!) that a movie in such poor shape would be released. Almost all of the dialogue is dubbed and the film has the worst audio I’ve ever heard in a “name” project. The budget looked like it cost 2 dollars. The kills sucked. The humor was the worst kind of juvenile stuff you can imagine. It was like the movie was written by some elementary school kids sitting at the back of the bus. The technical aspects, including the direction were all fucked up. Bad cuts, poor framing, zero sense of pacing or rhythm. It’s just a disaster in every aspect. Again, disappointing because I like Sullivan. But, yikes. On the bright side, half the boobs are pleasant to look at (with the other half being botched by various L.A. surgeons). Worst film of the year, without a doubt.
There were plenty of others (Night of the Demons, Saw 7, Survival of the Dead, Giallo, etc.), but these are the ten that really stand out to me. I can’t wait to wade through all the garbage next year as well!