The great thing about being a horror fan is the depth of material available in the genre. From silent cinema right up to tomorrow’s latest straight-to-DVD release, horror has an embarrassment of titles. Of course the down side of this can be that the horror genre is ripe for quick-buck producers, bad remakes, ripoffs, watered down copies, and just general feces. When Deadly Movies put it’s thinking cap on for the worst horror of the past decade it became sadly apparent that listing poor horror films isn’t particularly brain taxing, you could quite easily make a long list of horrible 2009 remakes alone. So my list is made up of what I found either particularly poor, particularly disappointing, particularly insulting, or simply films that should have done and known better. There are a lot of god-awful titles missing from this list, the plethora of PG-13 straight-to-DVD horrors are too easy to pick on, while some ropey low-budget efforts at least have a financial excuse. So here it is, my own personal account of the decades biggest stains:
Deadly Movies Worst 10 Horror Movies of the Decade
10: The Reaping (2007): Biblical abomination films rarely live up to their promise, but they are easy pickings for Hollywood given the recognisable source material. The Reaping is one of those horribly empty modern effect laden substance blackholes. The Reaping’s place on the list may seem harsh to some but it symbolises the retched slew of biblical horror that fails the viewer almost exclusively since the heyday of Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Exorcist (1973), and The Omen (1976). Pointless twists and more so a complete lack of balls to follow through and truly provoke religion are what lets this, and it’s counterparts, slip from promising to numbing.
9: The Tripper (2006): What a premise; Raganite axe-wielding maniac knocking off hippies at a festival. Definitely file this one under ‘how did it fail’? The Tripper has so much going for it, a fresh approach to the slasher-stalker film, meaningful political satire, a great theme and look for the killer, some sound actors (including the criminally wasted Thomas Jane), and a creative team boasting to be genre experts. The expert in question is David Arquette who somehow maneges to fumble all the promise of a rip-roaring meaningful genre slobberknocker in favour of a boring nonsensical mess. The Tripper is here to represent those films that should have done better, way way way better.
8: White Noise (2005): There was a time when I would watch anything starring Michael Keaton, largely due to his portrayal of Batman. White Noise was no exception, but was the breaking of the trend. The Sixth Sense began a trend of twisty-turny paranormal thrillers where the link between the living and the dead would be explored in a personal, eerie, claustrophobic, and intimate way. White Noise is a horribly boring film, void of any tension, scares, quality, production values, cleverness, development, or depth. When you strip that all away what are you left with? Not a bloody movie that’s for sure.
7: The Fog (2005): Arghhhhhhhhh you make me so angry! Watching The Fog is like being stuck behind an elderly driver making their way as cautiously as possible down a long winding road that has no room for overtaking. You are desperate to get past it and as far from it as possible and it is gleefully unaware of your existence. Horror fans should not complain about remakes, our beloved genre by its very nature will always copy, remake, rip-off, reimagine, and reinvent. However if you are going to remake something then add to, enhance, improve, make relevant, but don’t make utterly pointless. The Fog is damned by its blandness.
6: Prom Night(2008): In theory remakes of the 80’s slash and stalk genre’s back-catalogue are no bad thing (ignoring the originality argument here). Many of the lesser revered and beloved films of the era were to be brutally honest poor and by-the-numbers. So why not remake them? Original Prom Night (1980) was an OK genre film, essentially a cash cow for the producers and a vehicle for on-the-rise post Halloween (1978) Jamie Lee Curtis. Like The Fog remake this makes the list for not only not adding nor improving on anything, but also dumbing the content down to a PG-13 rating and offering noting but a name check to its title. Prom Night is perhaps the antithesis of the 2000’s trend of producing remakes for the OC generation, filled with glamorous teens in affluent situations. Nothing wrong with that at all…, but it’s not the place for a horror remake.
5: Hannibal Rising (2007): Horror is known for stretching out franchises too long, losing sight of the original, losing all ties with the original, and running itself into the ground. In the 2000’s a particular symptom of this familiar problem has been the prequel (sometimes dressed up as an origin story). Where Hannibal Rising becomes a treacherous little oaf is that it in no way resembles a Hannibal movie, feels like a Hannibal movies, or serves any purpose. The problem with an origin is it often explains away the mystique, but this point probably gives Hannibal Rising too much credit. It’s safe to say that at no point during this film do you link this Hannibal with Anthony Hopkins famous horror icon, neither in actions, motive, or character. Worse of all in prequels is the shoehorning in of symbolic moments, such as this young Hannibal appearing in a mask resembling the famous muzzle from Silence of the Lambs (1991). What this is trying to suggest I have no idea.
4: AVP2 Requiem (2007): You’ve all heard the saying ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’, well director siblings The Brothers Strause not only use this as a mantra in AVP2 but take it as far as humanly possible until you have something resembling ‘too many broths have flooded the bloody kitchen and I’m drowning amongst all this shitting broth’. The ludicrous story is incredibly convoluted and tries to squeeze so much iconography in from the previous (far better) Alien and Predator films that it resembles more of a clip show than a movie. It also may take the award for most contrived and forced ending. Watching AVP2 is a horribly sad way to watch two sci-fi/horror iconic monsters wallow in turgid sewage. It’s a glaring example of killing something you love.
3: Black Christmas (2006): This suffers from all the same problems attributed to The Fog and Prom Night remakes but made all the worse by the sullying of a truly great and important movie in horror history. It’s not an exaggeration to say that without Black Christmas (1974) the slasher genre as we know it may look completely different. So what fans want is such material treated with care and respect. This remake fails to do so on every conceivable level, rendering it not just pointless (as with many of its peers) but also derogatory. This is the kind of tripe that gives remakes and horror such negative perceptions.
2: Halloween Resurrection (2002): Now were getting down to the nitty gritty, and personal hatred! Hating a movie is actually a fairly petulant thing to do, after all just don’t watch it. Taste is personal, what you hate someone else will probably love. But I hate Halloween Resurrection and I’d love to meet anyone who can truly say they like it. Here’s the thing, if you don’t like horror, if you don’t like the Halloween franchise, then you are fairly unlikely to watch part 8 of a series. So for the love of god tailor the film towards your audience. Resurrection is a truly morbidly bad film that somehow manged to put a stop to the reinvigorated Halloween franchise (post Halloween H20 1998) in one fowl swoop, a magnificent feet of incompetence. Director Rick Rosenthal was incomprehensibly given the job after directing the insanely boring Halloween 2 (1981). Brilliant idea, he almost killed Michael Myers after one spike of public popularity, lets see if he can finish the job this time. He did.
1: The Wicker Man (2006): Nooo the bees, not the bees! A movie so bad, so very very bad that it has fallen so deep, sunk so low, that it is now beyond the reach of hatred and in the realms of a laughing stock, an embarrassment, and a parody. What Nic Cage and director Neil LaBute were thinking we may never know. Is it secretly a joke? Perhaps in the future it will come out as an experiment on the public’s ability to endure bullshit. The film is in short a disgrace, so much so that it can’t ever really be thought of as anything to do with a brilliant movie from 1973 that just happens to have the same name. How the makers ever thought they had produced something worthy of the price of admission I’ll never know, it genuinely is insulting. Is it even a horror film? No not at all.., but it masquerades as one, and if you’re going to do that then be prepared to be judged as so. One of the worst movies ever committed to film because it has no excuses; big budget, star name, awesome source material, and an enduring existing fan base. If someone shits on your face you want to know why, and you may be more than a little pissed off at them.