When it comes to “scary movies”, there are films that have made it hard for me to sleep after viewing. Films like THE SHINING (1977), HALLOWEEN (1978), THE EXORCIST (1973), NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968) have rattled my cage over the years and others like CREEPSHOW (1982), EVIL DEAD (the trilogy-1981,1987,1992), SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004), DEAD ALIVE (1992) taught me how much fun it was to be scared.
Watching these movies-knownas (depending on your position) horror, splatter, monster, slasher, zombie, gross out, span-in-cabin or whatever, has been habitual since a very early age. Like five. I was always taken-mostly by the story. If there was a decent story the rest seemed to work, every if it was a bit “cheesy”. Most of you probably grew up with some sort of “chiller” theatre on your television. In Kansas City it came on at 6 p.m. Saturday evening as “Son of Chiller” followed by “Chiller” at 10 p.m. (depending on the movie I might get to unless my folks thought it might disrupt church the next morning—-once a year we even got to stay home from church Sunday night to watch The Wizard of Oz—-that’s another essay-sorry).
…..anyway……these programs usually had a host that was total camp and corn but often times a welcomed break from the stress of the movie (ours was a guy known as Gregory Graves-dark circles around the eyes-Beatle wig-pasty white dude—my daughter grew up with a local female host who called herself Crematia Mortem-that was the 1980s). I love this stuff and looked forward to it. I loved cub scouts but if I had to pick….?
As I grew older I never lost the urge to watch a scary movie. I did however prefer ones that were really frightening or parody of the frightening, like YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974). There was always another type of film that bothered me, not that I was scared nor amused, but bored. Bored because the film was just plain bad letting the audience know that someone probably lost their job when the project was given a green light. Now don’t get me wrong-there have always been bad horror films (I always thought Bela Lugosi was horrible in the character of DRACULA (1931)-if you don’t believe me, check out the Spanish version filmed at the same time – and on the same sets as the Bela Lugosi version. Both versions were filmed simultaneously at Universal Studios in Hollywood and film historians credit the Spanish version of the film as being far more technically and visually superior… as well as sexier and more daring – than the English language Bela Lugosi version). Universal hacked into their reputation in the 40s with ludicrous presentations of classic horror stories with films like ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET—FRANKENSTEIN, THE MUMMY, THE INVISIBLE MAN, YADA, and the “cold war” monster films like THEM! (1954), THE DEALY MANTIS (1957) and TARANTULA (1955) all promised a display of absurdity (even though they propelled careers of actors like James Arness, Kenneth Tobey, Leo G. Carroll, Gene Barry and Patricia Neal-not to mention special effects wizards like Ray Harryhausen). The former saved Universal from bankruptcy and the latter made us afraid of atomic power and teenagers.
This leads me (finally) to my point, which is to keep you from watching what I believe to be the worst films/movies that a person could watch….especially around Halloween. I have chosen only five (out of countless others) and somehow that seems enough…for now. They are not scary…..they are not parody. They are awful. Why would a person watch bad movies? As a horror film aficionado it’s my job. You may have heard of these but don’t feel bad if you feel uninformed. It’s probably a good thing. NOTE: Only domestic productions-no re-makes and/or sequels (whoops-there goes 75% of the product)…even with that, what is left comes from a very deep well:
TROLL (1990)- An alcoholic family unwisely visits the town of Nilbog, where it is pursued by a brood of vegetarian goblins. In order to eat the humans, the goblins plan to turn them into plants first. There you go……
FEARDOT.COM (2002)- A snuff-movie website drives its visitors mad via fear-induced hallucinations. An ending that requires heroes Stephen Dorff and Natascha McElhone to free the vengeful spirit of a torture victim from the website. I would press Ctrl + Alt + Delete.
FRANKENHOOKER (1990)- A mad scientist (aren’t they all?) recreates his dead girlfriend using body parts from prostitutes. This film rips off anything and everything ever made.
REDNECK ZOMBIES (1987)- Shot entirely on videotape. Why not? It’s what rednecks would have done. Has a subplot where the redneck zombies join the Ku Klux Klan, for added social commentary. Jeez….
THE WICKER MAN (2006)-Edward Malus (Nicolas Cage) is lured to Summer isle, island of honey and honies-A misogynistic taint of an all-female community who turn out to such complete nut jobs that Cage has to punch them while wearing a bear suit. Nick should have never changed his name-it may have guided us past “no talent”.
There are more….so many more. And there will always be more. I mean don’t people watch movies to be entertained?
But then again, I could be wrong-