With Halloween almost here, The Los Angeles Beat welcomes witty and popular Yahoo Network contributor Lara Bailey, as she presents her pick of the top ten worst horror films ever made.
Although I might disagree with her decision to include ‘Carnival of Souls’ and ‘I Walked with a Zombie’ on her list, I can guarantee you that if you’re looking for a film this Halloween that delivers laughs and gore in equal parts, you’ll want to check out her list here!
Some I’d never heard of (‘Killer Tomatoes Eat France'; ‘Leprechaun in the Hood’) but I made it a point to hunt down and watch all of them this weekend, and I highly recommend that you do too!
The Top 10 Worst Horror Films Ever Made (and why they should be in your collection!) by Lara Bailey
Every year, someone in Hollywood always makes that one horror film that defies logic and just good taste. I find something very endearing about a movie so painfully bad that it’s good. It makes me want to root for them and add them to my collection, even though I might regret it later.
While some of these had a real theatrical release, the other ones have been doomed to go straight to the 5 dollar video bin at Walmart, or worse, Dollar General. Here is my list of the horror films so bad that they’re good:
10 . “Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders”
“Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders” is a 1996 fantasy/horror film directed by Kenneth J. Berton. The film stars Ernest Borgnine, who plays a grandfather telling his grandson a story about the wizard Merlin opening up a store in modern-day America. He tells him two separate stories about Merlin and the store.
While the second segment of the film is a re-cut version of The Devil’s Gift, a 1984 film made by the same director, the fact that this movie makes absolutely no sense, and the stories are far too horrific for a grandfather to be telling his grandson are what make this car crash a must watch! I must warn you however that this movie moves very slow, so you might wanna rent or buy the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 version, which makes fun of this awesomely bad classic.
9. “Leprechaun in the Hood”
This 2000 video release is a wonderful installment to the terrible ‘Leprechaun’ franchise. This time, our favorite evil leprechaun ends up in the inner city of Compton, California and well…does it really matter what happens after that??
Thank god for one of my favorite actors of all time, the legendary Warwick Davis (Willow and Harry Potter Franchise) in the title role, because he’s so damn committed to the role of this character, which makes it even more hilarious and real in an odd way.
It also has a surprisingly good supporting cast, with Ice-T and Anthony Montgomery rounding out the cast to make this movie one of my guilty Halloween pleasures.
8. “The Blob”
An independently made 1958 American horror/science-fiction film that depicts a giant amoeba-like alien that came from outer space and terrorizes the small community of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.
In the style of American International Pictures, Paramount Pictures released the film as a double feature with “I Married a Monster from Outer Space.” This movie actually marked Steve McQueen’s debut leading role, and also starred Aneta Corsaut as well.
What I love about this movie is that it has a very tongue and cheek approach to its storytelling, and has a theme song by the great Burt Bacharach and Mack David called “Beware of the Blob” that went on to be a nationwide hit in the U.S.! If that doesn’t scream awesome then I don’t know what does!
7. “Horror High”
A classic 1974 horror film about a nerdy high school super whiz who experiments with a chemical which will transform his guinea pig “Mr. Mumps” from a gentle pet into a ravenous monster.
In a fit of rage against his tormentors at the high school, Vernon Potts (Pat Cardi) goes on a killing spree, eliminating all of those who ever picked on him. Teachers, students, you name it, they all get killed.
Now, while this movie nowadays might hit too close to home with all the surge of teen violence over the past ten years, I feel that the plot is so over the top and so ridiculous that you can’t help but find this movie funny and incredibly gory to watch!
I’ve always wondered what happened to the lead actor Pat Cardi over the years, since he’s actually really good at playing this tortured soul. You actually feel bad for his character, and find yourself cheering him along in his killing escapade! It’s a must own!
6. “Carnival of Souls”
While technically this movie is not as cheesy as some of the movies I mentioned above, I feel it has some cringe worthy moments, thanks to its lead Candace Hilligoss, that put this on to the list for me.
This 1962 independent horror film, directed by Herk Harvey for an estimated $33,000, did not gain widespread attention when originally released as a B film. However, it is now considered a cult classic. Set to an organ score by Gene Moore, “Carnival of Souls” relies more on atmosphere than on special effects, creating a mood of unease and foreboding.
The film has a large cult following, and is occasionally screened at film and Halloween festivals. It has been cited as an important influence on the films of both David Lynch and George A. Romero.
I love the film noir aspects, and the fact that it takes it’s time to tell the story. Some modern audiences today might hate its leisurely pace, but trust me, the ending alone makes it worth it. Between it’s amazing locations, wonderful cinematography and truly creepy moments, it is a must own for any cheesy horror film buff!
5. “I Walked with a Zombie”
The plot of this classic 1943 movie is about a young nurse (Betsy) who comes to the West Indies to care for Jessica, the wife of a plantation manager (Paul Holland). Jessica seems to be suffering from a kind of mental paralysis, as a result of fever. When she falls in love with Paul, Betsy determines to cure Jessica – even if she needs to use a voodoo ceremony – to give Paul what she thinks he wants.
Full of horrible cultural cliche’s and some super bad acting, the commitment from the actors and cheesy sets is what makes this movie worthy of any bad movie night marathon at your house. With that said, I’d rather watch this movie over any of the new horror films out right now! Even though it’s not the greatest film, they truly did try to make it good, so there is a lot more creativity then one might expect from a B movie.
4. “Killer Tomatoes Eat France”
This sequel is by far one of the worst movies on this list, and definitely not one of the best Killer Tomatoes movies ever made. But between its bad acting, really horrible sets, tongue & cheek approach and all sorts of wrong stereotypes of French people, it makes this train crash a must (plus my father in-law making a very brief cameo as a big screaming guy in the crowd is an awesome bonus!).
Dr. Mortimer Gangreen (John Astin) escapes from prison, and has set up a base at his assistant Igor’s ‘Really Big Castle’ located outside Paris, France, where he is still bent on global domination.
Using his Killer Tomatoes, Gangreen plans to stage a second French revolution, according to an old prophecy written by Nicodemus (seriously, this is the plot), in which the king of France (Louis XVII) will return to claim the throne. The only image of Louis XVII shows that he bears a close resemblance to Igor (Steve Lundquist), and Gangreen plans to use this to his advantage to have Igor impersonate Louis XVII to claim the throne. I’m pretty sure this plot speaks for itself….just go rent it now!
3. “Freddy vs. Jason”
This 2003 American slasher film, directed by Ronny Yu, is the only crossover between the A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th franchises. It is the eighth and eleventh entries in their respective series, pitting their antagonists, Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, against each other.
In the film, Freddy (Robert Englund) has grown weak, as the citizens of fictional Springwood, Ohio have suppressed their fear of him. In order to regain his power, Freddy resurrects Jason (Ken Kirzinger) and manipulates him into traveling to Springwood to cause panic and fear. However, while Jason succeeds in causing enough fear for Freddy to haunt the town again, he continues to intrude on Freddy’s territory and steal his potential victims. This ultimately sends the two monsters into a violent conflict.
From an outlandish plot to some truly cringe worthy acting moments (Sorry Kelly Rowland!) it makes for some great guilty pleasure viewing!
This 1985 movie is one of the reasons why I started watching terrible movies in the first place! It has the element I look for in a bad horror film: so bad that it’s good! A ridiculous plot, cheesy actors, and satanic rituals for no apparent reason other than to conjure up these gremlin like creatures called “ghoulies.”
The plot centers around a young man and his girlfriend who move into a man’s old mansion which he inherited, then he becomes possessed by a need to control ancient demons (who doesn’t?!). If you want a good laugh, or maybe even just a new drinking game, this is the movie for you. For any cheesy horror lover this is a must!
As the Earth passes through the tail of a rogue comet ‘Rhea-M’, previously inanimate objects (ranging from vehicles to lawnmowers to an electric knife) start to show a murderous life of their own. In a pre-title scene, a man (cameo by Stephen King) tries to withdraw money from an ATM, but instead it calls him an “a-hole”. Chaos soon begins as machines of all kinds come to life and begin assaulting humans.
I would just like to say that I am a huge Stephen King fan, and love almost everything he has ever done. However, this movie is so bad it has to be at the top of my list! While Stephen King is a brilliant author in his own right, directing and writing screenplays are not his forte, and this movie is a huge testament to that! While I know that it is supposed to be cheesy and making fun of the genre that made Stephen king famous, it just ends up looking like a hot mess. The directing is bad, and sometimes I wonder if the actors knew it was supposed to be a spoof in a way.
I feel this movie would have worked better with someone like director Sam Raimi, with his trademark tongue and cheek vibe, but here it ends up looking awesomely bad for all the wrong reasons.
In any event, it’s still a must for cheesy horror lovers. This movie will truly make you laugh your butt off, and keep you coming back for more every Halloween.
Photo ‘Killer Tomatoes Eat France!’ courtesy of 20th Century Fox Film. Copyright 2012.