Whether you call them rip-offs or knockoffs, copycats or clones, it's very clear that all of these films have something in common - you've seen them before! Each of the horror movies below takes clear inspiration (or shamelessly steals) from a much more popular production that came before, replicating everything from scenes to characters to even entire plots in the process. These "mockbusters," as they are sometimes called, are usually made in an attempt to ride the coattails of other box office successes in order to make a quick buck - and it must work because they just keep making them. But, as unoriginal as they may be, there is one thing these imitations have going for them, and it's that their rushed production and cheap budgets can sometimes produce a movie so awful, it almost becomes a hilarious parody of the original.
But maybe that's being too harsh - you get to decide. Vote up the most egregious examples of shoddy horror films ripping off their predecessors, and vote down the movies that might actually be able to stand on their own two feet.
- Photo: Artisan Entertainment
Sure, slashers that feature randy teens getting cut down in the woods are a dime a dozen. But at least most films have the decency to switch up who's executing them. Bloody Murder (2000) features a sharp-object wielding man in a hockey mask taking up a murderous residence at the lakeside Camp Placid Pines. As if the resemblances in villain and setting to Jason and Camp Crystal Lake from Friday the 13th weren't enough, it also rips the plot element of revenge for the untimely passing of a previous camper at the lake.
Aside from the Jason elements, the film also takes "inspiration" from Scream (it was originally titled Scream Bloody Murder), its antagonist's chainsaw-wielding tendencies recall Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and its sequel - which is apparently marginally better than the first film - was given the Halloween treatment with its poster. Basically, this an '80s slasher identity crisis.8514Double trouble?
Debuting the same year as Child's Play 3, Dolly Dearest (1991) has been variously described as "A low-budget variant," and "a blatant rip-off," of Child's Play, as well as a "Chucky knock off with TV aesthetics." In a plot that will surprise no one, this Child's Play rip-off features a malevolent spirit taking refuge inside a doll that manipulates and attempts to possess a child as the parents, at first unbelieving, are eventually forced to look on in horror. Additionally, while the plot is clearly Child's Play, the doll itself is a bargain bin Talking Tina from the Twilight Zone episode Living Doll.
Copying homework aside, where the film really sins is in its total lack of chutzpah. Though rated R, the slashing sequences are weak, the blood is nearly nonexistent, and it's altogether boring. And the only thing worse than a bad horror movie is a boring one.6210Double trouble?
Pet GraveyardPhoto: Uncork'd Entertainment
As one critic put it so eloquently, "Pet Graveyard, genuinely misleading title aside, is a movie that exists." Say what you will about the other rip-offs on this list, at least they give you what they advertise, even if it isn't exactly a high-quality product. Pet Graveyard (2019), based on the title and poster alone, is clearly attempting to coast off of Pet Sematary's legacy, complete with ancient rituals and a discount Churchill in the form of a Sphinx cat in all the advertising. Naturally then, you'd expect some cursed burial ground, zombie-Gage-like high jinks.
So what's the actual plot? Well, it turns out it's about a group of young adults engaging in "brinking," a practice where they edge their way into the afterlife by allowing their bodies to expire, then pulling themselves back into consciousness at the last moment before they are taken by the reaper. Unfortunately, the ghosts of the afterlife start to follow them back into the real world. That's right. It's Flatliners.
What does a pet graveyard or cemetery have to do with any of it? Absolutely nothing. There is no point at which the marketing's obvious inspiration becomes relevant (though the cat on all the posters does occasionally walk in and out of scenes). If they wanted to make a Flatliners knockoff, why didn't they just say so?502Double trouble?
- Photo: Severin Films
Over the years Birdemic (2010) has reached near The Room fame on the internet for being so memetically bad, it's difficult to tell if it was meant as a serious attempt at filmmaking.
Five years in the making, Birdemic features a romance poised to bloom right before waves of feathery chaos break out across town. Just as in Hitchock's The Birds, nature attacks man from the sky. Where Birdemic is unique, however, is that it somehow manages to have infinitely worse special effects than any studio did in 1963 (47 years prior!) when Hitchcock's film first came out. The birds themselves look like they were cut and pasted into the film straight from MS Paint. They're also explosive, bursting into flames when they hit the ground, which makes it even more hilarious that at one point the main characters attempt to fight them off armed only with flimsy metal coat hangers.
In another lightning strike of originality, it does also have a happier ending than its blueprint film. A bunch of doves suddenly appear, which apparently inspires the evil birds to abruptly leave in peace. Hooray?517Double trouble?