Horror movie fans know that there are two best-case scenarios when watching a genre film: the movie is either an intense, scary film that terrifies the viewer, thus creating a unique and memorable experience... or the movie is so terrible in execution but so earnest in its mission that it becomes a transcendent experience. Think of any movie ever featured on cult favorite Mystery Science Theater 3000 as a prime example of the best bad horror movies. These are movies that allow audiences to enjoy the film in a wholly new way - trading screams and scares for cackling and cracking jokes.
The best worst horror movies aren't limited to low-budget endeavors by unknown directors hoping to make their mark in the cinematic world. For every Birdemic or Troll 2, there is a terrible decision by a larger studio that threatens to ruin an established franchise like Halloween. Other times, a studio gives a first-time director a chance, who inadvertently creates insanity in film form. A number of factors can create a horror movie that might not scare audiences, but still provide one heck of a fun time all the same.
During the making of 1986's lackluster Maximum Overdrive, author Stephen King was admittedly suffering from addiction, and his first and only directing effort came to fruition during that dark period.
Based on King's short story, machines come to life and attempt to end humans, prompted by a passing comet. The movie fixates mostly on large trucks attempting to take out survivors holed up in a truck stop, providing most of the unintended laughs with the odd characterizations and dialogue.
One character, exhausted from being trapped in the truck stop, screams, "We made you!" over and over at the trucks circling her. Another calls herself a road twitch, which remains unexplained, while truck stop owner Bubba Hendershot (Pat Hingle) inexplicably launches rockets at the vehicles. After days of being harassed, the trucks signal to the survivors - through Morse code honking - that they require refueling. The survivors agree, only to use grenades previously unused and unmentioned to blow up their captors.
The film is filled with odd, out-of-place moments that give the horror film inappropriate levity. One such scene includes King himself using an ATM that calls him disparaging names.So bad it's good?
- Photo: Columbia Pictures
Anaconda boasts so many big names that there is no doubt that the horror flick's intent was to be a serious filmmaking endeavor. The inclusion of Jennifer Lopez, Jon Voight, Ice Cube, Eric Stoltz, and Owen Wilson causes one to wonder what they saw in the script that failed to translate to screen. Today, the film is remembered for Voight's incomprehensible accent and the snake's strange ability to survive fire and explosions.
The plot itself is ludicrous, positing that a snake might seek revenge on former poachers or be somehow drawn to people doused in buckets of monkey blood. And where exactly did Voight's character get buckets of monkey blood? And how did he know it would work? The movie asks more questions than it is willing to answer, as the effects, dialogue, and plot steer the movie into the ground.So bad it's good?
Halloween: The Curse of Michael MyersPhoto: Dimension Films
As part of a successful franchise, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers is obviously meant to be a straight-up horror film. Tommy Doyle (Paul Rudd), the one-time charge of Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) from the original Halloween, is obsessed with Myers. Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence), who somehow survived the fire from Halloween II, returns as a retired hermit pulled out of hiding.
The film is filled with bizarre elements, such as an ancient druid curse that targets Myers's niece, Jamie (J.C. Brandy), who is needed for a final sacrifice for the cult. Also, Tommy finds the infant at a bus station after Jamie is taken out by her Uncle Mike and names the child Steven. The movie follows Tommy, Loomis, and others who attempt to protect the child and outwit the cult. At the end, Myers somehow survives lethal injections of corrosive liquid and a beating with a pipe, making for a hilariously unstoppable slayer.So bad it's good?
- Photo: Valiant Pictures
This classic flop from director and writer Ed Wood is about aliens reanimating corpses in an effort to convince humans to abandon the construction of the doomsday machine. If that convoluted plan isn't enough to convince someone of the film's absurdity, then look to the cheap sets, terrible dialogue, and the noticeable body double for Bela Lugosi.
The film is riddled with notable, terrible dialogue, such as, "Future events such as these will affect you, in the future," and, "Then they attacked a town, a small town I'll admit, but never the less a town of people, people who died." Small details, such as the lax gun safety of Wood's actors portraying police officers, also provide giggle-inducing moments that elevate the movie from bad to classic cult film.So bad it's good?