We all enjoy watching a marvelous and polished film. Spectacular acting, a great script and an invigorating plot are enough to gather our attention. There are times, though, where we just want to kick back and laugh at a film that is absolutely ridiculous. Stiff or exaggerated acting, confusing scripts and wacky plotlines are staples in these types of films, which I like to call “so bad, it’s so good.”
Films such as Anthony C. Terrance and Tom O’Reilly’s “Sharknado” and Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room” are perfect examples of films that are not great whatsoever, but are still fun for those who want to turn their brain off for an hour and laugh at absolute ridiculousness. And there is no better genre to find such ridiculousness than horror.
Now you might think: “Jordyn, aren’t all horror films like that?” Well, no, my friend, they aren’t! This misconception has given the horror genre quite a bad reputation until recent years, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t bad horror films out there. Today, however, we’ll only be talking about five.
First on our list is Jaume Collet-Serra’s directorial debut “House of Wax” (2005). Starring Elisha Cuthbert, Chad Michael Murray, Jared Padalecki and more, the film follows a group of teenagers who become stranded near a ghost town while on their way to a football game. One of the most famed attractions in this town is “Trudy’s House of Wax,” a seemingly pleasant wax museum that happens to harbor dark secrets.
This film is the absolute epitome of 2000s horror – a star-studded cast (that features controversial icon Paris Hilton) with sub-par acting skills, a slasher plot line which makes no sense and a whole bunch of rock music. This film is not perfect by any means, but there’s a decent amount of gore and fun to be had.
Second on the list is Ronny Yu’s “Freddy vs. Jason” (2003), which stars Robert Englund, Ken Kirzinger, Monica Keena, Jason Ritter, Kelly Rowland – yes, Kelly Rowland – and more. Finding out the residents of Springwood no longer believe in him, Freddy Kruger (“A Nightmare on Elm Street”) resurrects Jason Voorhees (“Friday the 13th”) in order to terrorize Springwood and make them believe in Kruger again.
With the title implying such big horror icons are at odds with one another, you’d think most of the film would be Kruger and Voorhees duking it out. Unfortunately, though, this is not the case. An idea with potential sadly falls flat with bad acting, a lackluster script and annoying characters that make you want to scream. If you’re searching for a mindless slice and dice with no substance, this one’s definitely for you. If you’re looking for an engaging plot, however, I’m afraid you won’t be finding that here.
Next up is Scott Stewart’s action horror “Legion” (2010). I watched this film late one night a few years ago when I still had cable, and let me tell you, it was an experience (and I honestly don’t know if I say that positively or negatively). Starring Paul Bettany, Lucas Black, Tyrese Gibson, Adrianne Palicki and more, the film follows a group of individuals trapped in an old diner as they’re under attack by demonic forces. Their savior is the archangel Michael, who tells a pregnant waitress of the diner her unborn child will save humanity.
Are you still with me? Good, because that is the actual plot. Wild, right? It’s an interesting idea that could go somewhere, but unfortunately, “Legion” does not take advantage of it. The cast is solid and there are genuine moments of tension and terror, but the slow pace, perplexing plot and bad script hurt a lot of the film’s potential. Even so, it’s still fun to watch just to laugh at.
Next up is Rupert Wainwright’s “The Fog” (2005), a remake of John Carpenter’s 1980 film of the same title that stars Tom Welling, Maggie Grace, Selma Blair, DeRay Davis and more. The film follows a small town near the coast of Oregon that becomes terrorized by a strange fog, which brings with it vengeful spirits who seek revenge on the townsfolk for their founding fathers’ past.
Remakes tend to fall flat in comparison to the original, and Wainwright’s “The Fog” is no different. The characters are plain and uninteresting, the scares are mediocre and lacking, and the plot just isn’t that intriguing. Some of the grisly deaths might catch your attention, but “The Fog” is mainly just great to watch to see how ridiculous it is.
Last on our list is “Maximum Overdrive” (1986), written and directed by the King of Horror himself, Stephen King. Let me start off by saying: I like King’s work. He does his job well and has created some iconic works of horror. “Maximum Overdrive” is one such work, but for all the wrong reasons. It’s an absolutely ridiculous film and if you’re someone unfamiliar with King’s work, it will make you question why people consider him a genius in the horror genre.
Starring Emilio Estevez, Pat Hingle, Laura Harrington, Yeardly Smith and more, the film follows a group of townsfolk trapped in a diner after a mysterious comet has caused all machines on Earth to gain sentience and wreak havoc. An admittedly intriguing premise, but everything about this film is an absolute trainwreck (no pun intended). The characters are tacky and absurd, the dialogue is stiff and makes no sense, and the film isn’t scary at all. If you’re wanting to see characters react to a wacky situation with a huge amount of absurdity, this is definitely the film for you.
While all these films aren’t exactly the pinnacle of cinema, they do have a bit of charm and some strong points. If you’re bored and wanting to indulge in something less than stellar, consider giving one of these films a shot.