The 5 Best Bad Horror Movies
For some of us, October is the most wonderful time of the year, particularly for the best of the bad. Sometimes, there is nothing better than putting on a bad horror film for a little holiday background noise or a full-blown feature-film night. So grab some snacks as we reveal the some of the best worst films of Halloween.
#1 Leprechaun (1993)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 23%
Why It's Bad: To a rational adult, there is nothing even remotely scary about this movie. The titular Leprechaun is Warwick Davis, FFS. Not only is he too ridiculous to actually be a scary villain, he is so easily distracted that anyone with two IQ points to rub together could escape him. Literally all you need to do is throw a pair of shoes at the Leprechaun and he loses all focus. They don't even need to be Louboutins. Any villain that can be thrown off track by a pair of Crocs isn't a real threat.
Why I like it anyway: Yes, a rational adult would have a hard time finding this film anything other than hilarious. However, the first time I saw it I was not a rational adult, but a precocious 7 year-old kid. And it…fucking…terrified…me. Now I can watch the film and laugh at the idea of Willow chasing down a young, naïve Jennifer Aniston; but at the time, I was pretty scarred by the image of a little green dude murdering people.
#2 Final Destination (2000)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 34%
Why It's Bad: It's basically a teen slasher flick minus the slasher. The invisible force of karma or whatever it is that is killing off these kids one by one is a little less interesting than Freddy Krueger or Jason Vorhees....and a hell of a lot harder to turn into a Halloween costume. Featuring some shoddy acting and gimmicky writing, Final Destination can't decide if it wants to be a high-concept thriller or a B-movie gore fest.
Why I like it anyway: Even though the "killer" in the film isn't quite as iconic as an actual slasher, I find existential dread far more threatening than a weirdo in a mask or with claw hands. This movie is all about how death can come at any moment (terrifying), but that if we figure out its pattern we can intervene and stop it (reassuring). Of course, nothing is ever totally safe in a horror movie, so the brief respite in knowing that there is a pattern and that it can be altered is totally undone by the film's ending, which features one of the truly great shocks of horror cinema.
#3 Stigmata (1999)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 21%
Why It's Bad: Suffering from a non-sensical plot and what one reviewer called "the eighth deadly sin – narcissistic direction," Stigmata revels in its own blasphemy without giving the viewer any compelling reason to sit through it. Patricia Arquette and Gabriel Byrne look really bored by the whole affair, and blood pouring from eyes becomes tiresome the 89th time you see it.
Why I like it anyway: When I first saw this film, I was a teenager and a recent apostate from my Baptist upbringing, and I hadn't yet seen The Exorcist. The blasphemous nature of the film was really appealing to my recently-turned-atheist sensibilities, and the weird sexual tension between the victim (Arquette) and the priest who comes to 'investigate' her stigmata (Byrne) appealed to my teenage hormones. Gross, but true.
#4 Disturbing Behavior (1996)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 35%
Why It's Bad: This is basically a teen version of The Stepford Wives, where rowdy and rebellious teens are brainwashed, lobotomized, and brought into line by the preppy, perfect kids and overbearing parents. A slightly goofy premise, but hey, it's a mid-90's horror movie, what do you want? The biggest problem is probably that the film tries to pass off both James Marsden and Katie Holmes, two of the most clean-cut and fresh-faced actors of the day, as rebellious, pseudo-gothy teenagers. Between that and the hacky dialogue, what could have been a fun premise ends up feeling more laughable than foreboding.
Why I like it anyway: As a rebellious, pseudo-gothy teenager, I liked the idea of a horror film where the preppy, perfect kids were the bad guys and got their comeuppance in the end. The idea of a school where parents, teachers, and A-students were conspiring to make the lives of any non-conformist miserable was pretty appealing to me at a certain age. And, let's be honest, young James Marsden was incredibly hot.
#5 Rapture-Palooza (2013)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 25%
Why It's Bad: Okay, this one is technically a horror-comedy, but I couldn't help myself. Taking place after the rapture, this story was lambasted by critics for using cheap and crass humor to cover the relatively thin plot. Especially given the recent spate of funny movies centered around the apocalypse, Rapture-Palooza was a letdown, despite the incredible cast (including comedy vets and newcomers alike – Anna Kendrick, Craig Robinson, John Francis Daley, Rob Corddry, and more).
Why I like it anyway: Yes, the humor is cheap and crass. Yes, the film's plot is pretty thin. And yes the film doesn't quite live up to its true potential. But damn if it isn't genuinely funny at times. A recurring gag with foul-mouthed crows has no right to be as funny as it is. Craig Robinson is so over-the-top and gross and bizarre as The Beast (a.k.a the anti-christ) that at times it almost feels like he's in a different movie altogether. And the biggest surprise of all – the apocalyptic vision of this otherwise ridiculous film is actually kinda terrifying. In a world where meteors, locusts, wraiths, and zombies are just part of the scenery, Anna Kendrick and John Francis Daley's nonplussed attitudes just heighten the absurdity and hilarity of the film.