One of the things I appreciate about the horror genre has is that it has been blessed with a number of films that aren’t necessarily ‘good’ in the conventional sense but still bring unspeakable joy to fans. These are movies that viewers appreciate more for what they aren’t than for what they are. In spite of a filmmaker’s best efforts, not every movie can be The Godfather or Citizen Kane. Sometimes, you shoot for the stars and fall short. But sometimes you shoot for the stars and the result is pure tragic magic. As in, the end result is so bad that it circles back around to being kind of awesome for one reason or another. The following genre films may not have received any Oscar nominations but each is enjoyable in its own way. Read on for ten so bad it’s good horror films we can’t help but love!
The Wicker Man (2006)
Nic Cage’s performance in The Wicker Man (2006) is campy, unhinged, over-the-top, and completely out of place. He is impossible to take seriously in his turn as a sheriff looking into the disappearance of a young woman. The redux is completely unnecessary and has been panned by critics and fans alike. But it certainly achieves so bad it’s good status. Cage’s frantic performance and inability to know when he’s overacting make this title worth revisiting. I find this particular title to be a great selection for a ‘bad movie night’ with like-minded friends.
I love Bloody Birthday. But even I can’t say that it’s necessarily good in the conventional sense. This is a flick that was shot on a very tight budget over the course of fewer than two weeks. It’s quite scrappy and very rough around the edges. But a bizarre storyline about sociopathic children born on the night of an eclipse, hammy performances, copious amounts of nudity, and a kick-ass final girl (Lori Lethin) make this film a great deal of fun to watch.
Troll 2 is the quintessential “so bad it’s good” film. Audiences line up around the block for special retrospective screenings of this flick and it has even inspired a documentary (Best Worst Movie) chronicling some of the film’s many questionable choices, as well as spotlighting its loyal fanbase. Troll 2 doesn’t have any trolls in it and it’s not really a sequel to Troll but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check it out if you’ve overlooked this trash masterpiece.
Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead
I went back and forth about whether or not to include Troma films on this list. We usually think of “so bad it’s good” movies as being a happy accident. But there is nothing accidental when it comes to Troma founder Lloyd Kaufman’s brand of schlock. It is entirely intentional. However, I finally came to the conclusion that it’s not fair to penalize Troma for purposely making campy and farcical films. And few titles from the Troma library are quite as out there as Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead. The flick unfolds at a fast-food restaurant in New Jersey and chronicles the exploits of a hoard of zombie chickens. If you’re looking for a bad/good film that doesn’t take itself seriously, Poultrygeist fits the bill.
I have watched this film so many times and I always come away with a renewed appreciation for how absolutely bonkers it is. The acting is completely absurd; the audio is out of sync and the storyline is truly bizarre. But those are some of the qualities I love most about it. Moreover, the final sequence comes squarely out of left field and is likely to leave you asking yourself what the hell you just watched. This one is definitely bad but that doesn’t stop it from being unintentionally hilarious and highly enjoyable.
OK. You’re right. Miami Connection isn’t a proper horror film but it is definitely genre fare and it is definitely a masterpiece of so-bad-it’s-good-filmmaking. The Miami Connection tells the tale of a group of friends/musicians/ninjas that are tired of drug trafficking in Miami. So, they decide to put their money where their mouth is and fight fire with fire! Like The Wicker Man (2006) this film was shot without even a hint of irony and that makes it all the more enjoyable to lovingly poke fun at.
Birdemic: Shock and Terror
One must give Birdemic director James Nguyen credit for his enthusiasm. He wanted to make a movie and he certainly did. In the process, he gifted us with one of the worst films ever made with some of the most questionable CGI I’ve ever witnessed. Nothing about this movie works. But it is insanely quotable and so much fun to watch MST3K–style with a group of friends and a fridge full of beer.
This tale of terror likely would have been long forgotten if it weren’t for its twist ending. The final reveal has turned the flick into a cult classic and paved the way for a series of sequels of varying quality. As for the original, it looks cheaply made, features questionable performances from its core cast, and fails to deliver any particularly likable characters. But what it lacks in production value and acting chops, it more than makes up for in camp. This flick is so over-the-top that it’s hard not to have a great time with it. I really appreciate it for what it is (as well as for what it isn’t).
I’ve been known to call Dr. Giggles underrated and I stand by that statement. It’s got some great gore sequences and a few legitimately scary moments. However, the late Larry Drake really goes for the gusto with his performance as the titular character and the result is often comical. But not always for the right reasons. Drake makes the character so silly that he’s almost distracting. And that definitely waters down some of the scares. But, all in all, Dr. Giggles is a campy good time that delivers some solid frights without ever appearing to take itself too seriously.
I have to assume that Jack Frost is intentionally bad. I can’t imagine someone making a film about a snowman crossed with the DNA of a killer and expecting audiences to watch with a straight face. Regardless of co-writer/director Michael Cooney’s intentions, this direct-to-video slasher has secured a reputation as something of a cult classic. It’s rife with stupid jokes and the premise is more than a little outlandish. Jack Frost has all the makings of a schlock classic and it really seems to revel in being so bad it’s good.