In American filmmaking there’s a very fine line between horror and slap-stick comedy. True story. The horror film genre has historically been given a pass in terms of strict filmmaking judgment. Film critics have long understood that when it comes to horror films the only criteria that audiences care about is the ‘scare factor’. That’s about it. You would think that with that kind of leeway, a majority of films in this genre would be generally fairly decent. You would also be very wrong. Most of them are just average, many of them are not good and a handful of them are just plain awful, so awful in fact that they cross genres by moving into the realm of unintended comedy.
#13. Night Of The Bloody Apes (1972)
‘Night Of The Bloody Apes’ is the American version of a 1969 Mexican film called ‘La Horripilante bestia humana’ aka ‘The Horrible Man-Beast’ which is also known as also ‘Gomar – The Human Gorilla’. Did you get all of that? In either case René Cardona‘s film is God awful and a laughable disgrace to the horror film genre. Trust me on this.
#12. Hobgoblins (1988)
‘Hobgoblins’ is a classic example of a low-budget indie B-movie horror-comedy. It was written and directed by someone named Rick Sloane. The plot is similar to that of the hit comedy-horror film ‘Gremlins’. Some might call it a ‘rip-off’ and some might call it an ‘homage’. Everyone with good sense however, will call it a world class piece of garbage film. Then again, with a majority of the ‘above the line’ credits being just one person, in this case Rick Sloane, it’s not hard to imagine how terrible this movie turned out to be.
#11. Redneck Zombies (1987)
‘Redneck Zombies’ was a hyper low-budget indie horror film that was shot haphazardly over the course of a year (1986-87) primarily with weekend scheduled shoots. By hyper low budget I mean the low rent neighborhood of $10,000 (USD). This disaster of a horror film was directed by someone named Pericles Lewnes and distributed by Troma Entertainment, a company known for the underground horror classic ‘Toxic Avenger’ film series. ‘Zombies’ also holds the distinction of being shot entirely on videotape, and subsequently went straight to the video market for audience consumption, immediately before the spontaneous regurgitation of their stomach contents. True story.
#10. Frankenhooker (1990)
‘Frankenhooker’ can be best described as the world’s worst ‘Frankenstein’ rip-off attempt. This 1990 ‘black comedy horror film’ was directed by a human being named Frank Henenlotter. Why is it terrible? Let’s start with the plot line. An aspiring scientist’s fiancée suffers a freak lawnmower accident that leaves her cut up into unrecognizable parts. Scientist decides the best course of action is to put/sew her back together again using body parts from several of New York City’s finest prostitutes. What could possibly go wrong? In the case of this movie, everything. It’s really bad. It’s incredibly bad.
#9. The Fly II (1989)
What makes the 1989 release of ‘The Fly II’ an honest to God tragedy is the fact that it’s predecessor, 1986’s ‘The Fly’ was an Academy Award winning film (Best Make-Up). The problem is that the sequel was directed by the guy who did the special effects make-up on the original. His name is Chris Walas and he was as bad a director on this film, as he was a good make-up artist on the original. As audiences quickly learned ‘Make-Up Artist’ and ‘Director’ are mutually exclusive jobs for a reason. Then again I’m not sure how anyone without superhuman creative powers could help a plot line that calls for a 1/2 human 1/2 housefly child of a mad scientist. It’s like…Come again?
#8. Maximum Overdrive (1986)
‘Maximum Overdrive’ was written and directed by best selling author Stephen King. The key phrase being ‘best selling author’. Apparently a person can be a great writer and awful director. It’s sad because Emilio Estevez starred in this movie and in the 1980’s he was a fan favorite at the box-office. It also had a decent soundtrack headlined by AC/DC. However, not even the acting talents of an Estevez, or musical contributions of AC/DC could save this movie. The campy plot line revolves around a comet that causes electronics and machines all over earth to come to life, with murderous intent focused on humans. Cue societal chaos as cars, trucks and ATM’s begin physically assaulting any human being in sight. Cue the eventual, multiple ‘Golden Raspberry Awards’ (Worst Movies) nominations for ‘Overdrive’ which included a ‘Worst Director’ nod for Stephen King and a ‘Worst Actor’ nod for Emilio Estevez. It’s just sad, really.
#7. House of the Dead (2003)
House of the Dead is a film adaptation inspired by an arcade video game. It should have stayed an arcade video game. This ridiculous attempt at a horror film was directed by a male human being named Uwe Boll. True Story. It was roundly denounced as terrible by all kinds of critics from jump street. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 41st place ranking out of the 100 worst movies of the entire decade of the 2000s. Also a true story. This film was stupid, brainless, disjointed and completely implausible, even by horror film standards. The bright side however, is that it did on occasion cross over from horror into comedy.
#6. Monster Dog (1984)
‘Monster Dog’, aka ‘Leviatán’, aka ‘The Bite’, aka ‘Los Perros de la Muerte’, is an Italian horror film that was produced in Torrelodones, Spain. Got all that? This film was written and directed by a man they call Claudio Fragasso, who is Italian. It stars rock and roll legend Alice Cooper and that is about the best thing I can say about this film. The plot has something to do with a ‘lycanthrope’, German Shepherd type of monster dog/human. This film is basically 84 minutes of garbage on a stick.
#5. Night Of The Lepus (1972)
I wish that I could’ve been a ‘fly on the wall’ in the pitch meeting where someone said something to the effect of ‘Let’s make a movie about killer rabbits.’ It is very likely that a conversation resembling that occurred during the planning stages of ‘Night of the Lepus’, aka ‘Rabbits’, the 1972 Sci-Fi horror movie inspired by a novel called ‘The Year of the Angry Rabbit’. Directed by somebody who claims to be William F. Claxton, it’s a really bad film any way you try and slice it. The plot line you ask? A small Arizona town does battle with tens of thousands of mutated, killer rabbits. You can probably imagine the ‘Horror’ that ensues. The problem is that your imagination is better than this movie could ever hope to have been, even on it’s worse day and/or night.
#4. Invasion Of The Blood Farmers (1972)
‘Invasion of the Blood Farmers’ is a horror film that was released in 1972 and directed by a man named Ed Adlum. The writer whose sanity should be questioned, was a man named Ed Kelleher. Hahahahaha! Seriously. Hahahahaha! The actors in this film were compensated in six-packs of beer! True story. The budget was around $25,000 of United States currency that would have been more useful had it been set on fire. The production was three weeks of wasted time and little creative effort. Continuity problems abound, there were mix ups with day shots and night shots, basically every shot. Perhaps it was missed labeled as a horror film? The problem is that it isn’t funny either. It’s simply God awful.
#3. The Beast Of Yucca Flats (1961)
‘The Beast of Yucca Flats’ is a B-horror type film that starred a Swedish wrestling star of the era named Tor Johnson. It was released in 1961 but it shouldn’t have ever been made, let alone released. Apparently this film was the brain child of a Director named Coleman Francis. Francis also ‘wrote’ the picture, however I use wrote in quotes because there is so little actual dialogue in the film that the writing credit is a stretch. It was more of a voice over narration than dialogue script. The plot line you ask? Something about a Russian scientist who defected from Russia for a Nevada desert military testing Site called ‘Yucca Flats’, Then he gets irradiated and turned into a monster that terrorizes a small desert town. It’s hard to escape the feeling that you’re watching a bad student film, except that student films are by in large of better overall quality. Yes, it’s that bad. No, don’t watch it.
#2. The Devil’s Rain (1975)
‘The Devil’s Rain’ is certainly a film that William Shatner (yes, that William Shatner) probably wishes that he never agreed to star in. Released in 1975, this ultra low-budget horror film is a disaster that was Directed by Robert Fuest. William Shatner did several ill-advised ‘B movies’ in the years between playing ‘Captain Kirk’ on the wildly popular ‘Star Trek’ television show and the motion picture version. Clearly, he needed the work? Perhaps Shatner can find some solace in the fact that he wasn’t the only ‘name’ actor to have starred in this monstrosity. Other cast members were Tom Skerritt, Ernest Borgnine and a very young John Travolta making his film debut (Trivia). This film sucks, really bad.
#1. Snoop Dogg’s Hood Of Horror (2006)
In the chapter of the book about ‘sticking to what you’re good at’ you’ll find the example of Hip-Hop impresario Snoop Dogg and his involvement with ‘Hood of Horror’ aka ‘Snoop Dogg’s Hood of Horror’. This film is a sorry attempt at an adaptation of a fictional horror comic book. What actor Jason Alexander was thinking when he agreed to do this film is something that we might never know for sure. I’m sure that the other actors needed the work and/or paycheck, but Jason Alexander? Dude, you have ‘Seinfeld’ dough. They tried to create a film along the lines of ‘Tales from the Crypt’ and failed miserably. The tag line of ‘It ain’t all good in da hood’ should be amended to ‘It ain’t all good at all, ever, in any hood you can conceive.’ This film’s creators can at least take pride in the fact that they made the worst of the worst horror films of all-time. That’s saying something, isn’t it?