October 06, 2007

Worst Horror Flicks of the Last 10 Years

LL and I sat through an atrocious horror flick last night, and I can only concur with what she's written about it. Still, Frankenstein's Bloody Nightmare did accomplish one good thing; it has motivated me to compile a list of my 13 worst horror flicks of the past ten years.

This list isn't meant to be comprehensive, of course. While I typically watch four to five horror movies every week, there's a lot I don't see. Moreover, there are a lot of movies that are bad but not memorably bad. One criteria for inclusion here is that all of these movies were so bad that I can recall them, even if it has been a few years since I've seen them. There are plenty of movies that are terrible in and of themselves that I still enjoyed watching because they were silly, vapid fun (e.g., Blown, The Stink of Flesh, Die You Zombie Bastards!). All of the films on this list were not only bad, they weren't any fun. They took themselves oh-so-seriously and ended up as gray-faced borefests without redeeming qualities — unless you count the simple property of being memorable as a plus. Lastly, I make no distinction between low-budget bombs and big-budget steamers. It doesn't take a big budget to tell a good story or to just go over-the-top with humor, as in the recently reviewed Hide and Creep or the little-known weirdness that is Barn of the Blood Llama.

So, with all of this in mind, I not-too-proudly present Mike O'Risal's Personal List of the 13 Worst Horror Movies, 1997-2007... counting down to the very worst, of course!

13.The Order (2003)
A renegade priest becomes a "sin eater," which is bad — sins look just like huge jellyfish. Oy vay!

12.Dracula 2000 (2000)
Director Patrick Lussier doesn't manage to kill Dracula, but he maims the unfortunate vampire within inches of his unlife in this stinker about art thieves accidentally freeing the Old Count... who then seeks revenge on Van Helsing's daughter. In New Orleans, of course. Awful story, bad acting, and oh-so-solemn attitude contribute to making this the worst Dracula remake of the past decade.

11.They (2002)
Wes Craven put up money or something to make this awful flick, so his name got on the film when it originally hit the big screen like a well-flung handful of moist manure. In reality, this turkey-in-the-making saw no fewer than ten different directors come and go before the final cut was released. It's the heart-warming story of things that live in the dark which we never really get to see. The whole thing would have been comical if it weren't played so straight. They should have given moviegoers a full refund for this one!

10.Darkness Falls (2003)
The tooth fairy is killing people. She's afraid of the light. Much bad script writing and poor film making ensues. It's hard to be scared of monsters that can be beaten by switching on a flashlight, no?

9.Tail Sting (2001)
Long before there were motherfucking snakes on that motherfucking plane, some giant scorpions made it aboard. Unhappy with being stuck in middle seats and not receiving their requested extra bags of peanuts, they decided to kill everybody in coach. Truly, truly bad stuff.

8.Stay Alive (2006)
There's this video game, see, and people who play it get killed by the evil characters in it, all of which is under the control of... Elizabeth Bathory! One can only surmise that this dreck was primarily produced to capitalize on the fleeting celebrity of Frankie Muniz. Plot holes and continuity problems galore, including entire conversations based on experiences that characters never experience; maybe they're all psychic and can overhear conversations taking place miles away? Terrible, terrible, terrible... and the ending adds at least three more "terribles" to the stack. Stay Away!

7.Dark Woods (2003)
Allegedly made as an homage to 80's slasher flicks (a novel idea in itself, no?) there isn't a suspenseful moment to be had in this low-budget lump of dugong dung set somewhere in the backwoods of Florida. Repeated viewing may induce a persistent vegetative state. The bad special effects can be excused due to budgetary constraints, but having some sort of plot would really have helped a great deal. Instead, it winds up as nothing more than a drawn-out rehashing of every death scene from every psycho-killer flick ever made, all shot on a shaky hand-held camera. More likely to induce sea sickness than fear.

6.Ankle Biters (2002)
Midget vampires terrorize South Dakota. No, really.

5.Evil Breed: The Legend of Samhain (2003)
Yet another incoherent stinker about lost tourists and cannibal rednecks, it's a bit like The Hills Have Eyes meets Motel Hell meets a brick wall at 75 mph and goes splat. The ending has little to do with the beginning, neither of which have much to do with the middle of the film. Most people who saw it probably did so because it starred a couple of retired porn queens, and there was T&A sprinkled throughout... but there's a reason the porn queens retired, folks.

4.Island of the Dead (2000)
Anything post-Caligula that stars Malcolm McDowell is going to be bad, and Island of the Dead is no exception. Despite the zombie-implying title, the villains in this flick set on an island near New York City used for the interment of the homeless are... flies. Swarms of flies. Swarms of invisible flies, in fact. We get scenes of characters running about and flailing their arms for no viewable reason, a plot that makes no sense at all (McDowell wants to build condos on the island, which apparently makes the flies angry...), and lots and lots of loose ends in the screenplay that are simply never explained. It would be funny if it weren't for the sad involvement of a man whom we know can do much better things than this. Nonetheless, the whole mess could have been solved with a can of Raid, so it just doesn't... errrrr... fly.

3.Frankensteins Bloody Nightmare (2006)
The apostrophe lacking in the title of this flim isn't the only thing that's missing (that's not a typo, BTW; "flim" is something that looks like a film but isn't). There's no discernible plot, either. The audio was re-dubbed over silent video, so even when there is supposed to be dialog going on the lip movements match the sound about as well as one would see in a 1970's martial arts movie. That doesn't matter too much, though, because the audio was apparently recorded using a tin can and a piece of string, so most of it comes out as a muddle. The director is extremely fond of cheesy post-production video effects; nearly every scene involves them, resulting in the first movie I've ever seen that looks like it could have been drawn frame-by-frame with crayons. There are bloody stabbing scenes followed by close-ups of immaculately clean bodies and long sequences in which a camera pans from the corner of a table across a dark room. When a character says "wait a minute," it's actually a full minute before anything else happens. Best of all, the flick has nothing at all to do with Frankenstein... or much of anything else. Feh.

2.13 Seconds (2003)
This heavy-handed morality play about why you should repent and accept Jesus if you've OD'd on heroin is largely a rip-off of Jacob's Ladder and an old episode from Rod Serling's lesser-known series, Night Gallery. Another one with over-dubbed audio, bad lighting, an incoherent plot, and a "must be taken seriously" attitude, it's no fun at any level. As much a sermon as it is a horror film, it serves as a reminder of how nearly-laughable religious instruction can become when delivered inside of low-budget, amateurish horror flicks rife with cheesy special effects and the most wooden acting you're ever likely to see. Still, it's not quite as bad as the very worst horror flick of the last ten years...

1.The God Memoirs (2007)
Here we have it, folks, the absolutely worst horror film of the past decade. What makes this one so bad, you ask? Picture this, if you will (or must): a psychotic killer has lost his faith in the existence of God. I suppose we're supposed to feel bad for him at some level during the two hour run of this dragging, lagging bit of art house-wannabe flim, but trying to make a character sympathetic while depicting him torturing victims to death really doesn't work. Nor does having that character stare directly into the camera and deliver rambling lectures on his philosophy of life and the bleakness thereof for half of the film's duration. Luckily, that sort of scene is interspersed with long sequences consisting of the character pacing — in front of a house, by the side of a road — to break up the monotony. Every so often, the ghost of one the faithless killer's victims shows up, and the two stare at each other for a few minutes without saying a word. That really helps, you know? Ah, but there's a magnificent soundtrack as well — droning acoustic guitar accompanied by vocals that come from a voice that can only be described as the result of surreptitious mating between Bob Dylan and fingernails dragging across a blackboard. Not only is this the worst "horror" film of the past decade, it may be the worst film of any kind in the last half century. You've probably never heard of it, and now, I hope, that you won't actually try watching it, either. I lost a good 15 IQ points upon viewing the opening credits alone.

And there it is, my personal list of the worst-of-the-worst. Of course, there are a few dishonorable mentions that didn't quite make the list. I'll stick 'em in here, though I'll leave it up to the reader to figure out what makes them so awful for him/herself:

Penny Dreadful (2006)
Hood of the Living Dead (2005)
The Coroner (1999)
Dead Creatures (2001)
Evil's City (2005)
The Human Quality (2000)
Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave (2005)
Trance (1998)
The Bog Creatures (2003)
Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)
Eyes Are Upon You (2001)
The Gingerdead Man (2005)
Godsend (2004)
The Graveyard (2006)
Hot Wax Zombies on Wheels (1999)
Satanic (2006)
Screaming Dead (2003)
Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell (2001)
Wishmaster 4: The Prophecy Fulfilled (2002)
Zombie Nation (2004)

Please note that I take no responsibility for what happens to anyone who watches one or more of these movies. Watching them all in rapid succession is likely to cause one's brain to file divorce papers!

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