A bad movie is like pizza; it’s good, even when it’s bad. There’s something about a cheesy movie that makes me feel all warm and tingly inside. As every good horror fan knows, you’ve got to take the good with the bad and might as well embrace it.
Here are 5 of my personal favorite cheese-fests. Pass the marinara.
5. Frankenhooker, 1990
The VHS collecting set will most likely be familiar with this gem, due in part to the infamous talking cover box that asked, “Wanna date?” This aptly titled movie tells the story of a would-be medical student and his adorable fiancee. After a lawnmower-related tragedy, adorable fiancee is killed. The makeshift Doctor Frankenstein decides to revive his decapitated love via the body parts of crack-addict hookers. This one is truly a love story for the ages and my most recent Amazon purchase. You’ll “wanna date” with Frankenhooker.
4. Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death, 1989
I was on a staycation a few weeks ago and treated myself to this beautiful cinematic disaster. Featured in an episode of “Elvira’s Movie Macabre,” this movie includes performances by Shannon Tweed, Bill Maher (before he hit the big time and the “Real Time”), and Adrienne Barbeau. Cannibal Women tells the story of a feminist professor hired by the U.S. Government to confront the jungle-dwelling evil Piranha Women, in order to persuade them to move their man-hating and eating empire to a Malibu estate. All of this to protect the nation’s avocado supply, which apparently comes from this jungle.
Now we know why guac is extra.
3. Spookies, 1986
This is one of those movies you’ve probably heard of but never had the pleasure of watching. An 80’s video store masterpiece, Spookies is another example of the “teenagers get lost and wander into a mysterious house” formula we’ve seen a thousand times. I discovered this movie by accident one day in college (when I should have been studying) while browsing the endless void that is YouTube. After doing a search for the film, I remembered seeing the poster in a collage at my local childhood cinema. I pressed “Play” and never looked back. This one is full of Jim Henson puppet shop rejects, special effects that look like Silly Putty that was left in a hot car, and totally worth a watch.
2. Blood Surf, 2000
The most recent entry on this list might be the worst. With a whopping 3.3 rating on IMDB, Blood Surf is sure to quench your appetite for cheese. I discovered this crocodile-filled atrocity in the early-2000s, while channel surfing past midnight, which is really where all good stories begin. The best thing about this movie, besides the title, is the plot (bet you didn’t think I’d say that). Said plot involves surfers chumming water in order to surf through the sharks. If there’s anything you should be doing, it’s chumming water to attract sharks. Instead of the intended guests arriving at the chum-party, a gigantic crocodile shows up. While this movie is borderline unwatchable, Blood Surf holds a special place in my heart. I recently revisited this movie a few months ago on what I call “Shitty Movie Friday.” 1/10 would not do again.
1. The Willies, 1990
This anthology gross-out fest is a campfire story filled with slime, bugs, and guts galore. I included this movie mainly for its obscurity and phenomenal cheese. Starring a post-Goonies Sean Astin, The Willies is the movie that includes the infamous scene where an old woman puts her dog in the microwave. I know you’ve heard of it. This movie also has the greatest tagline of all time: “You’ll Laugh, You’ll Cry, You’ll Puke, You’ll Die!” And that you will.