Just like trick or treat, horror movies are supposed to be a treat. But every once in a while shriek-meisters (whether through lack of judgment or lack of talent) deliver movies that are more horrible than horrifying.
Here is a list of the films that ought to be skipped—and not just on Halloween. They never ought to be watched in the first place. If there are worse movies than these, I’m not sure I want to know about them. These are scary bad enough.
#7. Dementia 13 (1963)
Yes, Francis Ford Coppola wrote and directed this film. Yes, the man that made The Godfather (1972) made this almost incomprehensible movie about an axe-wielding lunatic. The only reason to see this film is to play a drinking game that involves futilely looking for the slightest clue that there is a talent behind the camera somewhere. Well, at least it was a step up from making the nudie films that kicked off Coppola’s career.
#6. The Terror (1963)
If Coppola’s first horror film was a case of “directors gone wild,” this film about a lost Napoleonic soldier who stumbles on a haunted castle is a case of everything gone bad. Not even the movie’s stars (Jack Nicholson and Boris Karloff) mucking around in the cobwebs could save this film. Producer Roger Corman didn’t want to waste some leftover sets. The whole movie was made in less than two weeks on a shoe-string budget with an unintelligible script. Although Corman was listed as director, at least four others staged scenes in the film including Nicholson and Coppola. The only people that should see this movie are students in a course on how not to make a movie.
#5. Halloween (1978)
I can foresee the comments below calling me an idiot. But it is hard to be a fan of the grandfather of the modern slasher film from the legendary horror director John Carpenter. Michael Myers is the unstoppable killer who butchers his way not just through this film through but innumerable sequels and a remake by Rob Zombie (2007). Films where the humans are just cattle led to slaughter and don’t have a fighting chance are profoundly uninteresting. From Friday the 13th (1980) to Scream (1996), they ought to just be ignored.
#4. Hostel (2005)
The only thing worse than slasher flicks is torture porn, where the directors just fill in for the Marquis de Sade. Why would anyone make these films? Why would anyone watch them? There is a time for torture in a movie. Check out the dental scene in Marathon Man (1976) or the weird stuff in Videodrome (1983) — now those are movies! Just pulling out toenails is not a substitute for character and plot.
#3. Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)
The only thing that makes for a worse horror movie than lack of taste or talent is greed. The Exorcist (1973) is arguably among the best scare films of the modern era. The suits decided to cash in with a sequel that is about as entertaining as a real exorcism.
#2. House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
Another horror to avoid is the filmmakers with zero talent who just recycle other people’s schlock. This pretty much sums up the career of Rob Zombie, who should have just stuck with the band (White Zombie). In this horrible horror show, two young couples go looking for trouble and find it. Zombie must have watched the classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) one too many times.
#1. Cabin Fever (2002)
The worst worst horror movie is the gross-out flick that has nothing more going for it than gore. In this debacle of a film, a group of college students head to a remote cabin in the forest where everything goes wrong. Well, that movie has been done way too many times and way better–starting with the classic The Evil Dead (1981). Also not to be missed is the ultimate spoof of cabin movies—The Cabin in the Woods (2012). The only thing worse than this movie there was a sequel in 2012.