When a horror movie is good it sends chills down an audience’s spine and makes people scream in revulsion. Some of the classics have been known to stay with a viewer for life, haunting them like some of the ghosts in the stories. Bad horror movies on the other hand are just that… bad. We’re not talking campy horror movies, or those which are made to be bad (like Freddy Vs. Jason for instance… it was intentionally bad, and that makes it fun), but rather horror movies which aspire to be great, and fail miserably in every aspect.
One of the worst horror movies, if not the worst horror movie of all time is “Cthulhu Mansion”. The basic premise of this misbegotten film is that a bunch of teenage thugs kidnap a stage magician and his daughter and force their hostages to lead them to the magician’s mansion in the middle of nowhere. For fans of classic horror, the name Cthulhu refers to the mythos originally begun by H.P. Lovecraft, and it’s considered some of the greatest horror ever written. This movie has no connection except the name.
What ensues is a long series of bad over-acting, atrocious camera work, and a plot that may as well not exist at all since the holes in it are so huge. Any one of these things could have been overcome, but never has a movie failed so astoundingly that you can’t even laugh at it… the only horror is in knowing that somewhere there’s people who thought this film was good enough to offer to the public.
Another movie that’s bad, but maybe not quite as bad, is “Automoton Transfusion”. At first the film has promise. The cover art is convincing, and it seems to be a solid, if low budget, movie about how a group of teenage friends fare when almost everyone they know becomes a zombie. The movie even seems to be going a step past stereotype, putting a black teenage athlete as the lead character. However the plot quickly falls apart as we see the same 10 zombies in every scene doing things less fearsome than we would have seen in the classic video for Thriller. Zombie movies aren’t known for their great plot, but when lines like, “I want to put a chain saw through his face” are actually uttered like some kind of dark prophecy… the film quickly loses any horror. Soon after that it loses any appeal as well. Those who want to watch the film will notice that the attractive male antagonist keeps most of his studly body intact when he becomes undead, receiving only a cut across the abdomen. Like most of the movie, it’s absolutely ridiculous.
Another really bad horror movie, though it’s not quite a movie, is entitled “The Screwfly Solution”. This piece of work was part of the Masters of Horror series, which produced some very good pieces. Screwfly though just proves that a big budget and more or less workable plot still can’t save a bad horror movie. The movie follows a young, pretty, suburban housewife through the end of the world. Some strange force (which we’re more or less told is aliens within 20 minutes) has erased the boundary between sex drive and aggression in men. As a result, there’s a misogynistic rampage, and men all over the planet start murdering women in droves. While that’s pretty horrifying, the movie shows all the men more or less wrapped up in religious frenzy, without a one of them really resisting or figuring it out. And of all the women left in the world, we’re expected to believe that a pretty housewife from the suburbs is the last to survive? The only thing that should have been properly executed was this film’s plot before it was ever finished.