It doesn't matter how good or bad a horror movie is, fans of the genre will probably watch it if it's available. Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad horror movies out there. Regardless of budget, era, or platform, many of the most horrendous horror movies still have a few good things going for them. Some of them are well-directed in spite of a terrible script, some of them have amazing effects, others just have to be seen to be believed.
Just because the movies included here are bad doesn't mean that you have bad taste for liking them (aside from one movie which is just shockingly awful), every single one of these frightening talkies has something in them you need to check out. After all, a bad horror movie is always better than a bad comedy.
- Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
Nothing really happens in Ghost Ship, a Dark Castle movie about, you guessed it, a haunted ship. Most of the runtime of the film concerns a crew of roughnecks who go aboard a long-lost ship in search of treasure. It's not so bad it's good, it's just kind of bad.
However, the cold open has one of the coolest mass kills you'll ever see. As guests aboard a giant ship take to the dance floor to cut a rug, a steel wire comes loose and cuts through everyone on board, except for a pre-teen girl who's too short to be decapitated. It's wild. It's beautiful. It's a perfect scene that the rest of the film can't live up to.
- Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures2197 VOTES
For a lot of '90s kids, Thirteen Ghosts is one of the first (if not the first) horror movies they saw in theaters, but the film doesn't really hold up. It's saccharine, the plot is straight-up confounding, and it's overstuffed with characters, but the ghosts and the production design save this movie from being unwatchable.
The set for most of the film is a massive glass house filled with elaborate revolving walls and panels covered in ancient runes. No matter where you're looking in this movie, you're going to see something cool.
If you're not a production design fan, you can still enjoy the extremely creepy ghosts, referred to as the "Black Zodiac." This compendium of frights not only offers a backstory for every ghost, but it tells spooky little stories within the story that are way more interesting than the actual plot of the movie.
- Photo: Columbia Pictures
John Carpenter was on his heels when he directed Christine, and hoo boy, did he direct the living hell out of this movie. Focusing on a haunted car and a teenage boy who loves rock 'n' roll, this movie is incredibly underwritten, but that's where Carpenter works best.
Carpenter's earliest and best works are incredibly simple. In films like Escape from New York, Halloween, and The Thing, the audience is completely aware of the stakes and what the characters want in any given scene because the stories are so basic. Carpenter's ability to blow out a barebones concept is exactly why Christine still works, even though the story is, at best, a mess.
- Photo: Sony Pictures Releasing
Darkness Falls could have been much worse than it is. The only horror film from the early 2000s that dares to ask the question "What if the Tooth Fairy was scary?" has some serious mojo running through its veins, even if the actual film makes zero sense.
If you haven't seen Darkness Falls (which you should), it posits a world in which a 19th-century witch haunts the town of Darkness Falls, where she does the whole tooth exchange thing, but if you see her, she brutally murders you. Yikes!
The film's entire concept is silly, but everyone in this movie is giving it their all. This dedication to such a ridiculous concept makes the movie much more enjoyable than it should be.
- Photo: Fusion Films / Future Films
There's something off about Odd Thomas, and it's hard to put a finger on it. It's not Anton Yelchin - he's always good - and it's not the premise, where a psychic young man solves a mystery that stems from his dreams. You know what it is? It's the dialogue.
Everyone in this movie is saddled with first-draft dialogue that sounds like Dawson's Creek fanfic. As bad as it is, this off-kilter dialogue is genuinely charming. There's really no way to explain just how strange this movie is through text, so the next time you find yourself scrolling endlessly through Netflix, just pop on Odd Thomas and try to figure out what the eff is happening.
- 6104 VOTES
Stephen King may be the Master of Horror™, but he missed the mark with Maximum Overdrive, the not-so-terrifying film about sentient 18-wheeler trucks who hold a group of humans hostage at a gas station. It's not just the big, big trucks who turn the world upside down, but pretty much every piece of technology on Earth. The movie may be devoid of scares, but the concept is frightening.
The film's opening 15 minutes set up a premise that's genuinely upsetting - what if the things we used in everyday life tried to kill us? The rest of the movie then vacillates between hilariously over-the-top set pieces, like an angry soda machine, and moments of banal brutality.
As over-the-top as Maximum Overdrive is, it shows just how much society is dependent on technology that we can't really control.