Horror movies can inspire true terror in their audiences, but at other times they can inspire true laughter. “So bad they’re good” horror is one of my guilty pleasures, and here are 5 great suggestions to get you laughing like a madman.
Mall Santa Dan Haggerty is down on his luck when he discovers a conspiracy around Nazi scientists creating the Aryan master race…of demon Christmas elves. If that doesn’t sound like an insanely entertaining idea, I don’t know what is. Such iconic lines include a beleaguered wife telling her husband “You and your goddamn elves, I’m sick of it!” and “What are you, a goddamn Nazi or something? Is that your elf?”
It’s been featured on RedLetterMedia’s Best of the Worst and remains a personal favourite bad movie. If you can track it down, it’s well worth a watch.
The Happening (2008)
M. Night Shyamalan’s descent from acclaimed director to pop culture joke is something you couldn’t make up. From such hits as The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable to bottom-of-the-barrel films like Lady in the Water and The Happening, it’s something that has to be seen to be believed.
The Happening is hilariously bad. Like, shockingly bad. It’s one of those movies I often think about and wonder “how did nobody veto this?” as I remember Mark Wahlberg’s strange performance and the shockingly bad plot twist. Some say this is the worst Shyamalan movie, but to me it has a redemptive value of being unintentionally funny.
Learning that it was intended as a serious horror-thriller only begs more questions. I mean, the plants? The plants are killing everyone? Really?
The Wicker Man (2006)
30 years after one of cult cinema’s greats⏤The Wicker Man (1973)⏤comes the remake starring Nicolas Cage. What was originally a suspenseful and thought-provoking film about religion and faith becomes a movie where Nicolas Cage threatens someone at gunpoint to get off a bike.
Other classic scenes include him getting inside a bear suit and slapping someone, him asking if a dripping red, still shaking bag has a shark in it, and laughable PTSD hallucinations and flashbacks. It is awful but immensely funny. This is a role only Nic Cage can play and is my favourite Nic Cage role.
The Visit (2015)
M. Night makes another appearance here, with his 2015 “small scale” horror film The Visit. A brother and sister are sent off to see their grandparents in a remote Pennsylvania town. Maybe granny and grandad aren’t very sane. Maybe they are serial killers. Who’s to say?
What makes this so-bad-it’s-good compared to just bad or average for me is that there are some very funny scenes that are intended to be straight horror scenes. It might also be that old people are just not particularly scary at all. When you’re questioning if what you’re watching is meant to be funny or not, scary or not, you’ve crossed the fine line of “so bad it’s good.”
I compare this to Night of the Lepus (1972), which is a movie about giant killer rabbits. Sounds fun, but because rabbits are so unthreatening it’s much more just…funny.
Trick or Treat (1986)
During the ’80s, there was an onslaught of movies around demonic rockstars and metalheads indoctrinating kids with their music. However, only one of these has the Gene Simmons of KISS fame in it. Another heavy metal cameo in here is Black Sabbath’s Ozzy Osbourne, so there’s some serious genre credit in this film.
Young rocker Eddie is obsessed with his heavy metal idol Sammi Curr. When Curr dies in a hotel fire, he becomes the owner of an unreleased tape by Curr. From here, it’s mostly insane and laughable attempts to be scary.
What’s your favorite horror movie that’s so bad it’s good? Let us know in a comment below!