The Foywonder's Ten Worst Horror Films of the Decade


Number 1


The Foywonder's Ten Worst Horror Films of the DecadeI know Van Helsing has its defenders - denial runs deeps. Van Helsing should have been a runaway blockbuster, a guaranteed franchise, a home run for horror and non-horror fans alike. We should all be collecting Van Helsing action figures, model kits, novels, comic books, you name it. By now we should be anxiously anticipating the release of Van Helsing 3. Hugh Jackman as Van Helsing from Bram Stoker's Dracula reinvented as a swashbuckling Indiana Jones/Solomon Kane/Blade/James Bond Victorian Era globetrotting adventurer hunting down creatures based on the classic Universal Monsters; a $160 million wet dream guaranteed to excite the inner child of every monster movie fan reduced to a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing. That idiot: Stephen Sommers. As soulless a summer blockbuster as you'll ever see, Sommers killed the franchise right out of the gate, did nothing to boost interest or sales in the old Universal monster movies (one of the main reasons Universal backed the film), and the plan to keep the film sets and recycle them for a proposed NBC spin-off television series to be called "Transylvania", NBC put a stake through the heart of that idea two weeks after the stench of Van Helsing began permeating theaters. One of the best premises for a blockbuster movie of the past ten years squandered unforgivably in a wretched bomb that beats you down with one empty exercise in excessive CGI after another failing at every turn to give you one single reason why should care about anything going on before your eyes let alone generate any thrills or chills, all the while stripping iconic characters of everything and anything that made them so, often refusing to play by its own rules in a plot that never rises above the level of third-rate Saturday morning cartoon gibberish. Garth Franklin of Dark Horizons wrote in his review what may have been the most astute line summarizing what went wrong with Van Helsing: "Sommers is like a kid who's just discovered masturbation, he just cannot control himself and has to keep doing things bigger, wilder and ultimately dumber - long past the point of reason or madness." If you ever want to truly understand just how miserably Van Helsing failed just watch a Hellboy movie.

Still not convinced? Then here are ten more reasons why Van Helsing is the worst horror movie of the past ten years.

Van Helsing's first name is now Gabriel instead of Abraham. Sure, Abraham was a good enough name for one of our greatest Presidents and the patriarch of the Jews and Arabs, but to Sommers it was all about what sounded cool to him and Abraham just didn't have a good enough ring to it despite being the name of the character from Bram Stoker's novel that he based the whole god damn movie around. It's cool though because Gabriel Van Helsing turns out to be the earthly amnesiac incarnation of the angel Gabriel. Say what?

Dracula's offspring are born dead - not undead, actually dead. Dracula keeps his born yet unborn offspring stuffed in wasp sacks hanging around his castle until he can find the correct electrical wattage needed to bring them to life. Or would that be to make them undead? The wrong wattage either fails to reanimate them or reanimates them for only a short period of time after which they begin bursting into piles of goo like the Martians' heads at end of Mars Attacks. Dracula commissioned the construction of Frankenstein's Monster because the energy used to bring him to life is the perfect voltage for giving his gazillion kids life - or would that be undeath? If Dracula ever gets his hands on Frankenstein's Monster he's going to use the power supply contained in Frank's Ultraman "Color Timer" of a mechanical heart to revive all of his babies that look like winged frogs with an uncanny resemblance to Dingbat from the old "Batman" cartoon series and unleash them upon mankind. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the basis for the film's very plot.

Comprehend for a moment that Richard Roxburgh was doing all this appallingly bad overacting as the worst Dracula in recent screen memory while Stephen Sommers sat in the director's chair nodding his head in approval. Sommers' version of Count Dracula really is like a lame version of a vampire villain from the 1960's Batman live-action series, while the Brides of Dracula all played by supermodels that do more silly posing than the "Power Rangers". Multiple brides and a million kids ... I never realized Dracula was Mormon.

Frankenstein's Monster suffers from some serious mood swings depending on Stephen Sommers own mood that particular scene. "I just want to live!" "You must destroy me!" "I want to live!" "Destroy me!" "Live!" Can we get Frank some Zoloft?

The full moon causes one to transform into a werewolf yet the first werewolf seen in the movie attacks in broad daylight. If clouds cover the moon then the werewolf will turn back into a human only to turn back into a werewolf as soon as the full moon is exposed again. Using Stephen Sommers laws of lycanthropy it must really suck to be a werewolf because unless it's a 100% clear sky you're going to be constantly changing back and forth at a moment's notice. On the bright side, according to Stephen Sommers version of the lunar cycle, there's a full moon every 48 hours.

Vampires can run around in broad daylight as long as there are clouds blocking the sun. The moment the clouds move allowing the sunlight to break-thru the vampires must flee back to their castle in a matter of seconds. Fortunately, these vampires seem to be able to do about Mach 3 when flying away to escape the light of day.

A point is made to tell us that werewolves are not fast enough to catch Transylvanian horses. Mere moments later, werewolves are shown successfully outrunning Transylvanian horses.

Everyone swings from a rope at some point in this movie. Even Frankenstein's monster comes swinging in at one point. Tarzan flicks have less rope swinging than Van Helsing. You get the sense that if Stephen Sommers ever made a movie based on Dragon's Lair it would be two-and-a-half hours of Dirk the Daring swinging across those flaming ropes.

Stake through the heart, decapitation, sunlight, holy water, fire, and all those other ways we've been told for ages were how you kill Dracula are all crap. According to Stephen Sommers, the one and only way to kill Dracula is the bite of a werewolf. Why exactly is never explained, but then we're also never given a really good explanation as to why Dracula spends so much time cavorting around with the very creatures that can kill him with a single bite. Apparently he isn't afraid of one of his werewolf minions turning on him and biting him because he's developed a werewolf anti-venom. He keeps that lycan antidote in a syringe stashed inside of a glass orb filled with acid up in a far off hard to reach tower of his castle - you know, for convenience. Van Helsing then quite conveniently gets transformed into a werewolf bigger than Sasquatch for the climactic CGI sumo wrestling contest with "Beast Wars" Dracula. At no time during this struggle does Drac ever attempt to fly at Mach 3 up to the tower to get his life-saving serum nor does he bother ordering one of his Oompah Loompahs dressed like Jawas on their way to a Quiet Riot concert to go fetch it for him.

And finally, after having spent the past two hours watching Kate Beckinsale barely escape encounters with werewolves and vampires, narrowly survive all manner of leaps and falls and multi-story rope swinging, what finally leads to the death of her character? Beckinsale is killed when werewolf Van Helsing in an uncontrollable frenzy tackles her onto a psychiatrist's couch. I do believe this marks the first time in cinematic history that getting sacked on a sofa killed a major character in a motion picture. Let me repeat this one last time just to put the exclamation point on why Van Helsing is the worst horror movie of the past decade:


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My f'n GOD is this the most refreshing accounting I have read in a while.... I agree w every single one of these movie reviews! I was VERY EXCITED to hear the denouncing of Halloween. It doesn't even deserve to be on this shit list. I am a longtime music fan of Rob but I am disgusted that ANYONE would remake such a classic. SIDENOTE: Why is Hollywood doing remakes? Why are they butchering them in the process???

Don't we ALL feel this ? Who are these companies making movies for? The beauty of any genre is to be creative and passionate... I don't even know how i stumbled upon this article but it makes me feel like theres hope.

btw for the record I'm watching the original Black Xmas as i write this and I hope you were only denouncing the remake cuz this original is one of my absolute favorites! anyhoo...

Submitted by jayspray on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 4:55pm.
moderator The original Black Christmas
Steve Barton's picture

The original Black Christmas is a milestone in the slasher genre. Hell, we wouldn't of had the original Halloween if not for Black Christmas.

Hollywood is making these remakes for clueless kids that don't know any better. Hopefully if they dig on these new shitty versions they will go back and find the original to see how it's done.

Still, not all remakes are horrible and some have been surprisingly good. I think it all boils down to who is behind what.

Submitted by Steve Barton on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 5:25pm.
krawlingkhaos's picture

Glad to hear a continued attempt to not dismiss anything out of hand; just because most of the remakes that have come along recently have sucked doesn't mean that remaking a film will ultimately result in suckage. A lot of folks seem to forget that both "The Thing" and "The Fly" are remakes as well as being two of the greatest movies of all time. As for the modern craze, I'm surprised that more blame and hate don't fall on the remake of "The Haunting": aside from being a big-budget summer block-failure that got everything wrong, it was also one of the first high-profile remakes of horror classics. As for me I will defend "The Hills Have Eyes" and (a little less actively) the new TCM as decent contributions. I think the saddest part about the trend is that the films that should be remade are not because they aren't high-profile enough, why? Because they failed the first time which is why they should be remade!

Anyway, I like the list but, like others, I have to question the number one pick. While I am not an active defender of "Van Helsing," I do wonder why anyone had any expectations going into it. I expected to see a big, loud movie with the IQ of toast, and low and behold that's what I got. I can understand the disappointment at something "Planet of the Apes" or (shutter...) AVP, but...Stephen Sommer people! Has the man made anything actually good? Not fun--he's made fun--but good? Really? Although I'm sure people will take away that I love "Van Helsing" and it's my favorite movie, but in truth I just don't think it's any worse than the Mummy Movies (although I haven't seen three).

Also, I think AVP should rank above AVPR because if the original hadn't fucked up the formula, then the second wouldn't have fucked it up even further. Whereas I could dismiss AVPR's failure as a film as the inevitable result of the first one's inexplicable financial success, there is no salve for the pain and betrayal of a first viewing of AVP. None. Ever. Its been six years, and my ass still hurts...

Submitted by krawlingkhaos on Tue, 01/05/2010 - 2:59pm.

Such a mysterious story behind Bob Clarke and John Carpenter. And yes I actually really liked the Texas Remake... so there are a few.

The younger kids definitely need to know where this genre came from. I just really lost it after the Zombie remake of Halloween. I've been in his musical circle and have alot of respect for him. What bothered me about the film was how he opens up the childhood of Myers,,,,, DOESNT EVERYONE KNOW horror is about NOT KNOWING all the details? lol

Cheers to you Uncle Creepy. I appreciate the intelligent response.

Submitted by jayspray on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 5:33pm.
Floydian Trip's picture

Yeah, that's it. Tough to find but well worth the effort. I've always wondered how they got those costumes which were the real deal. Sorry, back to bad movies?

Why no Unborn? That poor little kid is gonna go away for the rest of his life for murder 'cause I don't think the "Your honor, I was possessed by a demon." defense works.

Submitted by Floydian Trip on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 3:48pm.
Floydian Trip's picture

Hah, you know what was awesome though was that Batman vs Predator fan film. Fucking amazing.

Submitted by Floydian Trip on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 3:41pm.
moderator Dead End? Yeah, great Joker
Steve Barton's picture

Dead End? Yeah, great Joker too.

Submitted by Steve Barton on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 3:44pm.
Floydian Trip's picture

There is no defending either AvP movie. Requiem definitely takes the cake as the biggest abomination. I think I made it about 20 minutes into the movie and it made me feel like a kid again when I would turn ONTV on and try to watch porn through all the static. Was that a nipple? I hope this is a woman I'm looking at 5 inches from the screen.

Submitted by Floydian Trip on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 3:20pm.
moderator LOL! Exactly!
Steve Barton's picture

LOL! Exactly!

Submitted by Steve Barton on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 3:29pm.
Jim_McD's picture

Great list Foy but I don't see how AvP 2 could possibly be worse than AvP 1. It defies all logic. But most importantly where is Friday the 13th 2009 on your list? A glaring omission you otherwise MAGNIFICENT son of a bitch.

"...shit in your stocking..." COMEDY GOLD!

Submitted by Jim_McD on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 2:08pm.
Terminal's picture

Are you kidding? F13 may have sucked, but Jennifer's Body was ten times worse. My god what a piece of dog shit that movie was.

Submitted by Terminal on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 10:57pm.
moderator I think AVPr was worse than
Steve Barton's picture

I think AVPr was worse than AVP by virtue of the fact that at least you could see what was going on. Not that you'd want to mind you, but still!

Submitted by Steve Barton on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 2:38pm.
moderator I'm down with just about all
Debi Moore's picture

I'm down with just about all of Foy's picks with the exception of Doom. No film with Karl Urban could be the worst of anything.

Submitted by Debi Moore on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 12:59pm.
Foywonder's picture

Spoken like a woman who has obviously never seen Pathfinder.

Submitted by Foywonder on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 4:13pm.
Terminal's picture

Oh yeah and I enjoyed the list. I agree with every choice.

Submitted by Terminal on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 12:37pm.
Shambling_in_Bandages's picture

Good list, Foy, but I still think you should have gone with Zombie's 'Halloween' remake instead of 'Resurrection'. The reason why people don't defend 'Resurrection' isn't because it's bad, it's because it's bland. It's so by-the-numbers there isn't anything worth saying about it. Honestly, if it wasn't for the stupidity of the Busta Rhymes kung fu stuff, nobody would have anything to say about the entire film. It's banal rather than bad.

On the other hand, Zombie's script for 'Halloween' reads like a bullet-pointed list of sheer fucking drooling idiocy masquerading as something "brutal" and "real". And the less said about 'Halloween 2' the better. Magical fucking ponies and a "descent into madness" that is conveyed by some effeminate-looking long-haired guy(?) screeching "Fuck you, Annie!" and "Fuck you, Mrs. Psychiatrist!" a couple of times.

Submitted by Shambling_in_Ba... on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 11:28am.
LifeMi's picture

Resurrection was worse than Zombie's Remake in my opinion; at least the remake didn't have Busta Rhymes. That being said, Zombie's Halloween II is far worse than Resurrection.

Submitted by LifeMi on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 1:01pm.
Shambling_in_Bandages's picture

You just made my point about 'Resurrection'. ;)

True, the remake didn't have 20 seconds of Busta Rhymes doing kung fu, but it did have two hours of Rob Zombie's adolescent "brutality" and lobotomised scriptwriting. Of those two options, I know which is far, far worse.

Submitted by Shambling_in_Ba... on Fri, 12/25/2009 - 8:17am.
LifeMi's picture

We'll agree to disagree. Either way, both movies are terrible.

Submitted by LifeMi on Fri, 12/25/2009 - 10:01am.
Hear hear.
Terminal's picture

Hear hear.

Submitted by Terminal on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 12:38pm.
Terminal's picture

I question the intelligence of anyone who defends Zombie's remakes of Halloween and Halloween 2. Those movies are horrible, period.

Submitted by Terminal on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 11:22am.

I thank anyone who realizes how shitty Zombies remakes are. No one should redo ANY carpenter classics. Cheers to you Terminal

Submitted by jayspray on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 4:58pm.
Jim_McD's picture

Defending Zombies remakes kind of answers any questions you might have about their intelligence, doesn't it?

Submitted by Jim_McD on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 1:57pm.
Sirand's picture

Replace AVP-R with the original AVP and you'd have a perfect list.

Submitted by Sirand on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 10:42am.


Why the hate on Scary Movie 2. Chis Elliot and that HAND.....I can understand part 3 and 4 being as dumb as they come....but an R rated spoof movie and Chris Elliot singing that Poltergeist 2 song had me in stitches....not to mention the cripples ripping on each other.

And the exorcism scene in the beginning? James Woods? Nothing made you laugh?

Submitted by gorebath on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 10:12am.
Cash Bailey's picture

Dead-on, Foy! VAN HELSING is a movie so staggeringly stupid and incomprehensible I grew genuinely angry while I watched it.

Not since BATMAN AND ROBIN has a director and a studio taken such a monumental shit on an audience at such massive monetary expense.

And I'm pretty sure the real reason they changed the character's first name is so that they could copyright it for, no doubt, the deluge of spin-offs, tie-ins and merchandising a sure-fire masterpiece like this was bound to create.

You can't copyright 'Abraham Van Helsing' no more than you can copyright 'Count Dracula'.

Submitted by Cash Bailey on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 4:16am.
Matt Serafini's picture

I actually like some of the film's on Foy's list - for varying reasons. Black X-mas, When a Stranger Calls and AVP-R all sit in my collection.

But he's right about one thing: nobody defends Halloween Resurrection.

That said, Zombie's movie is far, far worse, but I'll save the 'why' for my own list.

And really, good list, man. A very fun read.

Submitted by Matt Serafini on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 3:19am.
Foywonder's picture

As vehemently as I would disagree I can at least comprehend what aspects of Black Christmas and AVP-R one might find go for. But the remake of When a Stranger Calls...? Really? Explain to me what it is about that film appeals to you. I really want to know.

Submitted by Foywonder on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 3:52am.
Blwn2bts's picture

This is by far the best list that I have read this year. Not because of the films you picked or the reasoning behind the choices (even though I agree with all of them), but because of the following line:

"If Paul WS Anderson had written that line it would have been 'Fuck with Santa and we'll see who shits in the stocking.'"


Submitted by Blwn2bts on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 2:00am.
moderator Agreed. When I first saw
Debi Moore's picture

Agreed. When I first saw it, I about fell out of my chair laughing. Truly a classic!

Submitted by Debi Moore on Thu, 12/24/2009 - 1:20pm.

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