There are a lot of horrible horror movies out there. Anyone who’s just decided to watch a random movie on Netflix knows that. Some of them are truly unwatchable. And sometimes it can be tough to make the case for a bad film over a good one. There are so many greats from the widely loved to the underrated to the simply unseen—but sometimes you’re just in the mood for bad.
The good kind of bad, mind you. A healthy kind of bad that you can have fun with. That was what made Mystery Science Theater 3000 so special in the old days. They had fun with the films they were lampooning. They were just along for the ride. There’s something kind of special about that.
I think that’s the kind of takeaway that’s important when one is going to sit down and subject themselves to a B-Movie. There’s a balance, because there certainly are films so bad that they have no entertainment value whatsoever. The titles on this list, no matter their quality, are at the very least, entertaining. They’re fun in a stupid way, which is always better than boring and they won’t leave you hating yourself for watching.
Troll 2 is the modern king of terrible horror movies. It’s bad on every conceivable level, from the story, to the production values, to the acting. But it’s so much fun at the same time. You can believe that, as bad as it is, the people involved are trying pretty hard and that energy elevates it and is also the reason it spawned a great making of/retrospective documentary titled Best Worst Movie. Not only does Troll 2 fail at being a sequel to Troll—basically the equivalent of getting points for writing your name on the paper—it also doesn’t contain any trolls. The creatures are explicitly referred to as goblins. Still, it has to be seen to be believed.
Before Troll 2, however, there was the indescribably bad Plan 9 From Outer Space. The film recently spawned a remake, and somehow people are shocked that it turned out to be bad. That’s a good thing. Being bad was the only thing Plan 9 had going for it. It’s the masterpiece of ambitious but utterly talentless director Ed Wood’s career. Where Troll 2 spawned a documentary, Plan 9 spawned Tim Burton’s Ed Wood. The biopic ironically won an Oscar for Martin Landau’s performance as Bela Lugosi, who appears in Plan 9 From Outer Space only in stock footage shot days before his death.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation has to be seen to be believed. It has the most all-star cast of any Chainsaw movie—featuring both Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellwegger before their respective careers took off—but it’s also easily the worst, even when factoring in Texas Chainsaw 3D. The Next Generation is a remake of the original that gets more and more bizarre as it goes along, eventually revealing that the cannibalistic backwoods family were agents of an illuminati organization possibly run by aliens trying to balance the scales of good and evil.
Jaws: The Revenge
If you’re in the mood for sharks but you’re not in the mood for Spielberg and can’t track down a copy of Cruel Jaws, there’s no better time to watch The Shark That Roared… I mean, Jaws: The Revenge. The fourth and final entry in the series. It was so bad that it made Jaws just about the one franchise to actually stay dead for over two decades and counting. There’s no coherent story, but that’s almost made better by the film’s novelization, which reveals that the shark is hunting the Brody family because of a voodoo curse.
You might think the M. Night Shyamalan produced—but not directed—2010 film Devil is simply boring and aggravating, and you’d be right. But after another viewing, I’d say it’s worth a watch because I picked up on some subtle complexities I missed the first time. Devil is not really about the devil in the elevator, it goes deeper than that. It’s about a situation that everyone can relate to: You’re in an elevator with a group of strangers and someone has done something they don’t want to own up to. You start studying every face to see who’s responsible and by the end of it, you can’t even trust yourself. Yes, I’m trying to tell you that Devil is a metaphor for a fart.
The Gingerdead Man
In the old days, Full Moon had—believe it or not—some sense of class. They made low, low budget movies but they were still made with heart and integrity. A whole lot of care went into producing the best horror films they could for the money they had. When Full Moon re-branded itself in 2005, that whole mentality was gone. Instead, they made The Gingerdead Man which starred Gary Busey as a killer cookie which is—admittedly—a concept that kind of sells itself. Gingerdead Man ranks with Evil Bong as the most entertaining film of the new era of Full Moon.
Death Bed: The Bed That Eats
Comedian Patton Oswalt helped gain Death Bed some notoriety when he explained just how bad it is during his stand up routine. It’s bad on just about every conceivable level. And that led me to wonder how it even got made. That’s what’s fascinating about Death Bed, to me. This could very well be the most escapable horror monster of all time, because it’s a bed. Sell it on Craigslist to the first person that responds to your ad and voila, you’ve got a franchise on your hands. How does a killer bed even work? The answer, as you’ll see when you inevitably break down and watch it, is “badly.”
Silent Night Deadly Night 2
Silent Night Deadly Night 2 was originally commissioned as a sequel to be made using only footage from the original, recut into a new movie, hoping nobody would notice. When that proved impossible, the director begged for some money to shoot at least a few scenes to explain what was going on and bridge the old footage into whatever semblance of a new story could be mustered. The new scenes are hard to describe, if you haven’t already seen them. The whole thing kind of feels like an accident. Like they characters happened to say their lines while someone just happened to have a camera pointed at them. It doesn’t feel deliberate. The lack of money and preparation led to one of the most entertaining shooting sprees in cinematic history, though and has gained the feature cult status and a legacy even beyond that of the original.